Award-winning filmmakers Jane Campion and Guillermo del Toro revealed that some of their films were possible only because of streaming platforms, during a Directors on Directors interaction for Variety.
Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer The Power of the Dog, directed by Campion, was recently made available on Netflix after a limited theatrical release.
“This film would not have been made if Netflix hadn’t stepped up and said, ‘We will take this risk,'” said Campion. The New Zealand-based filmmaker recently won the Best Director award at the Venice International Film Festival for the film that stars Kirsten Dunst alongside Cumberbatch.
The Power of the Dog has also garnered seven nominations at the upcoming Golden Globe Awards, including for Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role (Cumberbatch).
For del Toro, on the other hand, his upcoming stop-motion animated film Pinocchio has been greenlit by Netflix. Noting that the theatrical experience is “beautiful and moving,” the filmmaker, who won the Academy Award in 2017 for his film The Shape of Water, added, “I hope it’ll never go away. It will wane and rise. And at the same time, I must say, in my personal story, many projects I would’ve never been able to shoot I’ve been able to have financed because of [streaming services].” Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, meanwhile, is scheduled for a theatrical release on December 17.
The question around streaming platforms and films releasing on them has been a point of contention among filmmakers.
For instance, Patty Jenkins, who directed the Wonder Woman films, termed movies that release on streaming platforms “fake” during a panel discussion at CinemaCon in September. It is to be noted that Jenkins’ film Wonder Woman 1984 followed a hybrid release – premiering simultaneously in theatres and on OTT – due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jenkins, who has a series deal with Netflix, said that she views streaming and theatrical experience as two different things that require different skill sets.
Earlier, Steven Spielberg, a vocal critic of streaming platforms, announced a multi-year collaboration between his Amblin Partners and Netflix. In 2019, Spielberg had stated that films releasing on OTT must not qualify for the Oscars. He had further urged audiences to go to the cinemas instead of opting for Netflix.