The Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival History"The Festival is an apolitical no-man's-land, a microcosm of what the world would be like if people could contact each other directly and speak the same language." Jean Cocteau.
In 1939, French minister for Public Instruction & the Arts, Jean Zay, proposed the creation of an international film event in France. Cannes was chosen for its "sunshine &enchanting setting".
The first International Film Festival was postponed due to the war. In 1945, the French Association for Artistic Action was asked once again to organise a festival to be held under the aegis of the Ministry of National Education, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the newly founded National Cinema (CNC).
On September 20, 1946 the International Film Festival (the first important international postwar cultural event) opened its doors at the former Casino de Cannes. It was run as a non-profit organisation with a board of directors, attaining charitable status in 1972.

Apart from 1948 & 1950, when lack of funds led to the cancellation of the event, the Festival has taken place each & every year, at first in September, then in May (as of 1951), running approximately 2 weeks.
In 1968, the Festival was interrupted due to political turmoil.
The Festival was principally a social & tourist event, more a film forum than a competition, nearly every film screened walked off with a prize.

The great increase in participants & new economic stakes involved shifted its orientation. The Cannes Festival became the most media-covered annual event of the film industry, with today over 4,000 journalists representing 1,600 media companies.
As of 1959, the official creation of the Marché du Film increased still further the impact of the Festival, providing it with a commercial platform & facilitating meetings & discussions between film industry buyers & sellers.

In the forty-five years of its ever-growing existence, the Film Market has become the leading market place in the world for international film business. In the same way, the Village International, created in 2000 has enabled an ever-increasing number of countries to promote their cinema.and culture.

In parallel to the Official Selection, the International Critics' Week and the Directors' Fortnight respectively opened in 1962 and 1969 with competitions under their own banners.

In 1978, upon the initiative of the then General Delegate, Gilles Jacob, the Caméra d'Or prize was created to be awarded to the best first film presented in any of the three selections.
At the beginning, the Festival presented films chosen by their country of origin.

In 1972, at the request of General Delegate Maurice Bessy, the Festival's President, Favre le Bret, and the Board of Directors - the Festival would be the sole decision-maker and would select those films from all over the world it wanted to present. This decision marked a turning point and was quickly taken up by other festivals.
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.
The Festival opened the Festival Residence (Résidence du Festival) in Paris in the autumn of 2000, to pursue the same objective: providing young filmmakers with the chance to develop their screen projects outside their countries of origin and thus encourage the promotion of their work abroad.
In 2000, Gilles Jacob was elected President by the members of the board, succeeding Pierre Viot who held this position since 1985, who went on to become President of the Cinéfondation.

Since 2001, Gilles Jacob has had strong support from both Veronica Cayla, General Manager, & Thierry Frémaux...
2005 saw the Cinéfondation extend their programme with the introduction of the Atelier - putting young filmmakers in touch with industry professionals and helping them gain international financing.

A new theatre also opened in the International Village to host Tous les Cinemas du Monde so that various countries could showcase their work. Later on that year, Gilles Jacob awarded the position of Festival General Manager to Catherine Démier, replacing Veronica Cayla, who was named General Manager of the C.N.C.
Together, the management team continues to reinforce the Festival's role as a pioneer for world cinema, where all styles, schools and genres have their rightful place. The Festival is dedicated to developing cinema in all its facets and this is evident through its many screenings, cultural events, forums, tributes and masterclasses.
As well as being a most special place for film industry professionals to meet, the Cannes Festival is especially attentive to the talent of artists who contribute to the growth of the medium. Throughout the years, the Festival has become famed for the balance it has established between artistic quality of films and commercial impact.
Not only are the films presented assured a unique & international platform, but the Cannes Festival as well reveals and reflects evolution and trends in world cinema while defending the notion of "auteur cinema for wide audiences".


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