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Jane Campion Fears Netflix Becoming ‘More Picky’ Amid Subscriber Loss Will Hurt Young Filmmakers

While Campion believes the company will continue to fund her projects, she says that "what's sad is not taking risks on people without names."

Jane Campion

Jane Campion

Sipa USA via AP

Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed Western drama “The Power of the Dog” may have been Netflix’s most serious Oscar contender to date. The film was considered the frontrunner to win Best Picture for much of last year’s award season, narrowly losing the grand prize to “CODA” while still winning Best Director for the lauded filmmaker.

But despite the film’s success, Campion is worried about the future of the streaming giant. Amid slow subscriber growth and a tumbling stock price, Netflix has signaled that it plans to adjust its film strategy by financing fewer expensive prestige projects. “I do think they’re going to be more picky about other projects,” Campion said in a new interview with BBC. “Maybe, what’s sad is not taking risks on people without names.”

Campion fears that the move will result in fewer filmmakers getting important opportunities like the one she received, though she believes that her existing relationship with the streamer means that the changes won’t affect her. “I don’t think it would be hard for me if I wanted to do something because I’ve established a relationship and they’re incredibly loyal,” she said.

Despite her belief that Netflix would gladly finance another project from her, Campion has no plans to make another film any time soon. Instead, the two-time Oscar winner is focusing on the Aotearoa Pop Up Film Intensive, a new pop up film school she founded in New Zealand with funding from Netflix.

And despite the company’s recent financial difficulties, she appreciates that Netflix has been steadfast in its support for the endeavor. “I was thinking, ‘Oh gosh, they might withdraw the money, they can’t make sense of it,'” she said. “But I’m really thrilled that they’re not doing that.”

Campion hopes that the directing intensive will help open doors for talented filmmakers who wouldn’t have otherwise had the resources to pursue film careers.

“You don’t have to have a privileged background to participate and you don’t have to pay any fees, so it’s free, plus you get paid to go. So the hope is that we’ll just make a level playing field for talent,” she said. “Right now, I’m just really feeling this desire to give back to the next generation and I just feel like, wow it really sucks, education these days. There’s not enough finance for it. How are people supposed to get a go? I really don’t like it. And if I’ve got any power to do anything, which I seem to have, I’d like to change it.”

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