Oscar Directors: Campion, Jane–on Making Power of the Dog with Netflix

Netflix After Subscriber Loss: Not Taking Risks on People Without Names’

jane campion
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Oscar winner Jane Campion fears that Netflix’s new strategy after facing a loss in subscribers will result in the streaming giant being “more picky” about the projects it decides to fund.

“I do think they’re going to be more picky about other projects or, maybe, what’s sad is not taking risks on people without names,” Campion told the BBC in a recent interview.

Campion, whose 2021 Western “The Power of the Dog” garnered 12 nominations at the Academy Awards, believes that established filmmakers such as herself will likely be fine. However, she thinks the new strategy may hurt the prospects of up-and-coming filmmakers.

“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.

While Campion made sure to note that “The Power of the Dog” “couldn’t have been made” without the support of Netflix, the perspective of the company has shifted since the film was released in the heat of last year’s awards season.

The streamer announced it was down by 200,000 subscribers at the end of Q1 and that it expects to lose another two million subscribers in Q2. In its most recent earnings, Netflix committed to cutting costs in order to keep its margins at 20%. The streamer still plans to spend aggressively on content, though, with a budget of $17 billion in 2022 for shows and films.

The company has also seen massive rounds of layoffs, with 300 staffers let go in the latest report.

During the interview, Campion also responded to reports that Netflix offered her a budget of more than $30 million to make “The Power of the Dog.”

“They didn’t offer me that much, that would have been nice,” she said with a laugh. “They offered something close-ish and no, the film couldn’t have been made without them because we took it to the market and there were several different people interested. But we had budgeted the cost of it and the only people that were willing to go near that was Netflix.”

The sprawling Western won Campion an Oscar for best director, marking only the third time a woman has won the award. Campion’s win was the only Oscar the film brought home, losing out to “CODA” in the best picture race. Campion touched on the Apple TV+ film’s victory on Oscar night.

CODA: Best Picture

“With the Academy it seemed that ‘CODA’ really captured the hearts of people,” Campion said. “It was an easier film to understand and, you know, that’s the way it went and I’m happy for them.”

Campion has no plans at the moment to make another feature film. Instead, the award-winning director wants to focus on a pop-up film school she has set up in Wellington, New Zealand — which Netflix will continue to fund.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh gosh, they might withdraw the money, they can’t make sense of it,’” Campion said. “But I’m really thrilled that they’re not doing that.”