Have you ever wondered how amazing it would be to visit Cannes during the Cannes Film Festival? The show is associated with splendor, with foremost celebrities in attendance and this makes the city to be agog at this period.
The Cannes Film Festival, also known as Festival De Cannes in French, is a glamorous film show held once a year in Cannes, France. At the event, new films along with documentaries from all parts of the world are viewed. Established in 1946, it is usually held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and remains one of the biggest film expos in the world.
The festival, which is a significant tourist attraction in the world, witnessed a major change in 2014 when the co-founder, Pierre Lescure, became its president. The 2019 Cannes Film Festival is held from the 14th to 25th May 2019 with the Mexican filmmaker, Alejandro González Iñárritu, appointed as the president of the jury.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a screenwriter and producer. He was the best director at Cannes 2016 with four Academy awards to his credit. Some of the films he had produced include The Revenant, Babel, Birdman, just to mention but few.
History of Cannes Film Festival
It is very important to note that the Cannes Film Festival was heralded in 1932 when the then French Minister of National Education instituted an international cinematographic festival with the support of American and British governments. Even though arrangements were made to stage the first Festival De Cannes in 1939, logistic problems and World War II led to the abortion of the dream.
On the 20th day of September 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival was held at the former Casino of Cannes with 21 participating countries. The following year, only 16 countries participated in an event that was characterized by a high level of inefficiency. The 1947 event took place at the Festival du film de Cannes.
Festival De Cannes is a unique event that attracts filmmakers from all parts of the world. It comprises different sections which make the celebration to be outstanding at all times.
The official selection is the major event of the celebration. It involves the selection of films in various categories as follows:
Films selected to compete for the grand prize, Palme d’Or, are referred to as ‘in competition’ films. Their projection takes place at the Théâtre Lumière.
Films in this category are chosen from various cultures and the works must be original. Their projection takes place at the Salle Debussy.
These are films that do not contend for the major prize. Their projection also takes place at the Théâtre Lumière even though there is no prize attached to any of them.
An environment that is distinctively adapted to the specific identity of films in this category is chosen by the selection committee.
In this category, 15 short and average-length films from various film schools of the world are selected. They are projected at the Salle Buñuel.
These films will compete for Short Film Palme d’Or and about 10 films will be selected for this category. They are projected at Buñuel and Debussy theatres.
Cannes Classics is a category for old works so that the legacy of the film industry can be celebrated. However, these old works are presented in a new style.
Cinéma de la Plage involves the screening of films to the general public at the Macé beach. Only Out of Competition and Cannes Classics films are shown at the beach. A programme set apart for film music usually precedes the show.
In addition, the festival has parallel sections which are substitute programmes for uncovering more visible features of the movie industry. Some of them are discussed below.
International Critics’ Week
The International Critics’ Week has been used to discover new talents since 1962. It has also been used to present feature films from top directors from different parts of the world.
The Directors Fortnight began in 1969 and has been used to discover new talents. It has served as a breeding ground for future Cannes winners.
Tous les Cinémas du Monde
This is a very exceptional feature of the festival. It involves the exhibition of cultures of different participating countries to the admiration of the audience.
There are so many events associated with the festival. Consequently, it usually attracts tourists from every part of the world every year. Here are some of the events.
Marché du Film
This is a film market and the busiest in the world by all standard.
These are given by renowned filmmakers and are held publicly.
Eminent international artists are honored with the Festival Trophee after some of their works are screened.
This network links producers so that international co-productions can be easily negotiated.
Film exhibitions are held as part of the celebration. Specially thought-out themes are chosen for the exhibition every year.
Before the commencement of the celebration every year, the board of directors chooses festival juries. The major responsibility of the jury is to come up with films that will win awards at the festival.
The selection of jurors is based on reputation, experience, exposure, and acceptability. The jury president is appointed by the board based on recommendations of the management. Every year, the jury meets at Villa Domergue where winners are selected.
The Palme d’Or, also known as Golden Palm in English, is the most esteemed award at the event. Some of the awards at the event are listed below:
Palme d’Or – Golden Palm
Grand Prix – Grand Prize of the Festival
Prix du Jury – Jury Prize
Palme d’Or du court métrage – Best Short Film
Prix d’interprétation masculine – Best Actor
Prix d’interprétation féminine – Best Actress
Prix de la mise en scène – Best Director
Prix du scénario – Best Screenplay
Prix Un Certain Regard – Young talent, innovative and audacious works
Cinéfondation prizes – Student films
Awards by Independent Entities
Directors’ Fortnight Prizes
International Critics’ Week Prizes
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
François Chalais Prize
Recently, a lot of gender, as well as sexual issues, were associated with the festival. The “Heelgate” of 2015 is still fresh in our memories. Many female guests of a red carpet premiere were denied entrance because they were putting on flat-soled shoes rather than high heels.
As a result of this embarrassment, a lot of female celebrities protested by not wearing any shoe to red carpet events. In fact, some of these celebrities intentionally wore flat-soled shoes to activities at the festival as a sign of solidarity with their embarrassed colleagues.
Furthermore, some top directors, have been alleged of sexual harassments at past events. Some of them were even accused of abuse which has made the festival to lose its credibility.
In order to proffer solutions to these issues, the organizers introduced a telephone hotline in 2018. The hotline was created in conjunction with the government of France to give victims the opportunity to report cases of harassment as well as other crimes.
The modifications of guidelines on theatrical screening also led to contention in 2017. In 2018, Netflix pulled out their films from the celebration due to the implementation of rules on theatrical screening.
Impact of The Festival
The contribution of the festival to the film industry and tourism can never be overemphasized. A lot of producers use the event to showcase their new works, especially if they are of high artistic value. Collaborations among practitioners are also enhanced and this has led to many cross-national productions.
The tourism industry has also benefited a lot from the festival. A lot of people visit Cannes during the festival in order to feel its pulse. Tourists have also an opportunity to explore the city of Cannes, especially through Cannes Walking Tour since a city is best explored on foot.
Top places to explore by foot in Cannes include Marché Forville, Notre Dame d’Espérance, Le Suquet, Palais de Festival, The Old Port of Cannes, La Malmaison Museum, just to mention a few. There are other side attractions awaiting tourists visiting this fascinating city.
Why You Should Be At The Cannes Festival?
Even though the festival is strictly by invitation, there are some events that are open to the public. Every evening, there will be free open-air cinema at Plage Mace where classic films will be shown.
You don’t need a ticket for the show, you only need to claim a deckchair and you are good to go. Cannes Cinephiles will also show films free of charge at four cinemas during the festival. In addition, free tickets will be available for Critics Week where feature films will be screened.
On A Final Note
The Cannes Film Festival is an avenue for practitioners in the film industry to network and project their works. It also offers tourists the opportunity to watch first-class movies in addition to exploring the city. However, it is very essential for you to get in touch with a competent touring company so that you will be able to get the best experience.