Cannes halts Netflix's 'Okja' film after screen glitch, heckling

Reuters News
Posted: May 19, 2017 2:53 AM

CANNES, France (Reuters) - The Cannes Film Festival stopped the world premiere screening of Netflix's contentious movie "Okja" on Friday after a technical glitch prompted sustained booing and slow clapping from the audience.

"Okja", starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, is one of the hottest movies at this year's festival but divisive because U.S. video-on-demand company Netflix has refused to screen it in French cinemas.

The film halted five minutes in after what the festival called "a technical incident".

Audience member Ernesto Garratt, a journalist with the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, said the crowd started booing partly because the cinema had set the screen to the wrong ratio, cutting off the edges of the picture - but also partly because of the distribution dispute.

"They were booing for both reasons," he said.

Staff adjusted the curtains at the side of the screen and restarted the film from the beginning shortly afterwards. The audience booed the Netflix logo when it appeared on screen for a second time then settled down and applauded at the end.

"This incident was entirely the responsibility of the Festival’s technical service, which offers its apologies to the director, his teams, the producers and the audience at the showing," the festival said in a statement.

(Reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Andrew Heavens)