The festival is considered to be one of the most important marketplaces for European films. It's also a showcase for Hollywood films that screen out of competition.
Cannes HistoryThe Cannes Film Festival almost didn't outlast its inaugural year. Set to take place in September of 1939, the fest was canceled after the German attack on Poland, which marked the beginning of World War II.
The festival was relaunched in 1946. After two successful years, Cannes was suspended again in both 1948 and 1950 on account of budget problems. The festival was infamously shut down once again in the year of 1968. French Filmmaker Louis Malle, leading a group of prestigious directors, took over the large room of the Palais, stopping screenings in solidarity with students and labor on strike. (This event was depicted in the opening scenes of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers.)
In 1998, Gilles Jacob created the Cinéfondation, a selection of short and medium-length motion pictures from film schools all over the world. Its objective: to discover and promote new talent. Since its creation, over 2,000 films from every continent have been sent to the Festival to compete for selection.
In 2007, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the festival, Gilles Jacob invited 33 of the greatest filmmakers in the entire world to take part in the anniversary film To Each His Cinema, by directing in three minutes each. The film was screened at the anniversary evening of the Festival in the presence of its 33 directors, including Olivier Assayas, Jane Campion, The Joel and Ethan Coen, David Cronenberg, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Atom Egoyan, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Aki Kaurismäki, Abbas Kiarostami, Takeshi Kitano, Ken Loach, David Lynch, Roman Polanski, Lars von Trier, Wim Wenders, and Zhang Yimou.
Cannes AwardsEach year, at the end of the festival, the official Jury determines the prizes for the films in Competition, and hands them out during the Closing Ceremony with the followings: the The Palme d'Or, the Grand Prix, the Jury Prize, the Best Director Award, the Best Screenplay Award, the Best Actress Award, the Best Actor Award, the short film Palme d'Or and the Caméra d'Or Prize, awarded by the President of the presiding jury.
Recent winners of the Palme d'Or include Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007), Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006), Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), the first and only documentary to be awarded the top prize, and Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994).
The Official SelectionThe Official Selection consists of about twenty features in Competition, about twenty films selected at Un Certain Regard, films Out of Competition or in Special screenings, a programme of shorts in Competition and the school films of the Cinéfondation.
- In Competition: About twenty features are selected to be in Competition and in the running for the Palme d'Or. They make up the main part of the Official Selection which is screened at the Grand Theatre Lumière.
- Un Certain Regard: the Official Selection "Un Certain Regard" screens some twenty features hailing from cinematic cultures near and far – by young filmmakers and seasoned masters alike.
- Out of Competiton: these films, screened in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, are not competing for the Palme d'Or.
- Special screenings: the selection committee has chosen for these films an environment specially adapted to their particular identity.
- Cinéfondation: created in 1998 and dedicated to the search for new filmmaking talent, the Cinéfondation presents about fifteen shorts and medium-length motion pictures from film schools the world over.
- Short films: each year, about fifteen international shorts compete for the short film Palme d'Or.
2009 Cannes Coverage
- Cannes Film Festival Begins: Up Makes History, Celebrities Arrive
- From The Red Carpet at Cannes
- Lars Von Trier's Antichrist Provokes Outrage
- Almodovar Classic on the Verge of Becoming a Fox Series
- Haneke's The White Ribbon Takes Palme d'Or