What happens when you put together celebrities, designer dresses, and a town in the French Riviera? Why, the Cannes Film Festival of course! Known for its opulence and star-studded repertoire, the festival previews new films from all around the world. On the Cannes Film Festival red carpet this year we spotted all the A-listers from Victoria Beckham to Woody Allen. But what is Cannes Film Festival, exactly? If you’re asking this question, then look no further. Keep on reading to find out the ins and outs of this glamorous European festival.
First off, let’s start with the basics: Where is the Cannes Film Festival and when is Cannes Film Festival 2016? The festival is held every year in May in Cannes, France, at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres. This year it runs from May 11 until May 22. It started all the way back in 1932 when Jean Zay, who was the French Minister of National Education at the time, set it up. The coveted Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the festival, was created in 1955. Gilles Jacob, the Festival’s honorary president was appointed in 2000, and by 2002 the festival got its official name: Festival de Cannes.
This year, the Cannes Film Festival 2016 schedule is jam-packed with all sorts of exciting work. In the category of feature films is Paterson starring Star Wars actor Adam Driver. It tells the story of a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, who observes the day-to-day rituals of his bus-driving job through poetry. In the star-studded The Last Face, director Sean Penn tells the love story between relief aid doctor Miguel Leon (played by Javier Bardem) and international aid organization director Dr. Wren Petersen (played by Charlize Theron). Against the backdrop of war-torn Liberia, the two try to keep their relationship alive under extremely difficult conditions.
If you’re like us and don’t have a private jet to take you to the festival, don’t worry! You can enjoy everything the festival has to offer from the comfort of your own home. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy these five cool facts about the Cannes Film Festival that you may not have known.
Evolution of the Palme d’Or
In 1954, the highly esteemed award was actually called the “Grand Prix of the International Film Festival” and it was awarded to Best Director. At that time, the winners were also presented with a work by a contemporary artist in vogue. It wasn’t until 1990 that the Palme was modernized by Caroline Scheufele, the president of Chopard Jewellers. The company now supplies the trophy every year, which is made of 24-carat gold and attached to a cushion of a single piece of cut crystal.
The Marché du Film
Established created in 1959, the Marche du Film (which literally translates to “film market”) is the professional networking dimension taken on by the Festival. It’s when buyers and sellers would exchange stories and ideas; though it started with a few dozen participants, today it attracts 10,500 buyers and sellers from around the world, making the Marche du Film the top international market for film professionals. It is the most important place at the Festival for film professionals to come together and buy and sell film. Last year, 4,000 films were screened and presented.
This is the best way for the festival to search for new talent. Created in 1998, the Cinéfondation selects 15 to 20 films from schools all over the world. The selected films are shown to the Shorts Jury, and there are awards for the best three. Every year 1,600 students are sent to the Cinéfondation, and since 1998, more than 300 films from hundreds of schools around the world have been selected.
Key Players of 2016
The president of the Jury this year is Australian director George Miller while French actor Laurent Lafitte is the host for the opening and closing ceremonies. The official poster is a still from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt, showing Michel Piccoli climbing up the Casa Malaparte. Woody Allen’s film Café Society was selected to open the festival.
Today, the Cannes Film Festival is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious events, attended by hundreds of celebrities, directors, and film aficionados. But the start of the festival wasn’t nearly as extravagant and elegant. The festival was supposed to begin in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis Lumière, but because of the war, it was put off until 1946. Also, the festival was not held in 1948 and 1950 on account of budgetary problems. Nonetheless, today it is a glamorous event and continues to be an important avenue for European filmmakers.