Screening stopped after Netflix film Okja booed and heckled at Cannes

A screening of the Netflix film Okja at the Cannes Film Festival was stopped on Friday after it was booed by audience members.

Okja, which stars Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, has been at the centre of controversy, because of its selection for the Palme d'Or competition despite being a streaming-only film.

The film is about a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, company from kidnapping her best friend - a massive animal named Okja.

The audience reportedly first booed when the Netflix logo, appeared before the film started.

The booing is said to have continued along with heckling when the film, directed by Bong Joon Ho, was projected in the wrong aspect ratio for around ten minutes.

Journalist Philippe Dupuy tweeted this video from inside the screening room when the film was stopped.

David Ehrlich, a senior film critic at Indiewire, tweeted that there had been "huge boos" at the Grand Auditorium Louis Lumiere.

The Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin tweeted that Cannes had made "an A+ case for the primacy of the cinema experience".

  • Festival apologies for 'technical incident'

The screening of the film was then restarted and was applauded at the end.

In a statement, the festival said: "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."

Jake Gyllenhaal, left, Tilda Swinton and Okja director Bong Joon-Ho. Credit: AP

What's behind the controversy over the film?

For the first time, Cannes have selected two Netflix releases Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories for its prestigious Palme d'Or competition.

The US video-on-demand company has refused to screen them in French cinemas.

French theatres, which have strict rules regarding streaming service films, have been greatly irked at thought of a movie that will not play on the big screen winning the Palme d'Or.

As a result of the furore, Cannes have said that next year it will not accept streaming-only films.

Pedro Almodovar, who is presiding over the competition jury, said: "I personally do not conceive, not only the Palme d'Or, any other prize being given to a film and not being able to see this film on a big screen."