Today marks the beginning of the Cannes International Film Festival, a world-famous event associated with glitz, glamour, and well-known names in the film industry. Each year, film directors, actors, actresses and celebrities alike gather on the resort town in the French Riviera to take part in the awards ceremony. This year marks the 69th annual film festival, which may demonstrate the longevity of such an event and its reputation as an honorable occasion reserved for film industry professionals. However, there are parts of the event open to the general public, such as the Cinema de la Plage (Cinema on the beach) which is set to stream screenings of previous award winning films. The festival is one of the few remaining film festivals besides the Venice and Berlin film festivals which take place in Europe.
Situated in the South of France, Cannes is a coastal town lined with sandy beaches, up market boutiques and hotels. The Cannes International Film Festival takes place each year in May for around two weeks. The festival was originally created on the initiative of Jean Zay, Minister for Education and Fine Arts, who was keen to establish an international cultural event in France following the success of the Venice Film Festival in Italy. According to the official Cannes Film Festival website, the mission of the event is to draw attention to and raise the profile of films with the aim of contributing towards the development of cinema, boost the film industry worldwide and celebrate cinema at an international level. They may achieve this on a high level, as the festival is normally covered in mainstream media and captured on television which is broadcast around the world. Essentially, the Cannes film festival casts a spotlight on the film industry and may attract global attention, captured by the many journalists and photographers who cover the event.
There are multiple awards in the competition, covering areas such as Best Screenplay Award or Best Actress or Actor Award, however what may be considered the most prestigious award is the Golden Palm or ‘Palme d’Or’. This is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. Last year’s winner of the Palme d’Or was Jacques Audiard, director of award winning film “Dheepan”. The Palm award is open to film directors as well as actors and actresses, who have won this award in the past.
During this time, it may be busier than usual in the town of Cannes. For tourists visiting, there may be many activities and cultural experiences to enjoy around the area. Cannes is also close by to Monaco, which is around an hour each way by train. The ports of Monaco are often filled with yachts and the Formula One takes place here once a year. Monaco is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and may be known for its casinos. Tour operators such as Viator offer tours such as private luxury yacht cruises from Cannes to Monaco. Alternatively, tourists may wish to book small group tours, which include exploring open markets and perfumeries.9 St. Tropez is also nearby, and ferries operate back and forth for tourists who may want to visit whilst in Cannes. Azur Tours offer wine tours around Cannes and the surrounding areas where there are vineyards and wineries.10 Wine production in Provence started around 2600 years ago and was one of the first wine-making areas in France. The sunny Mediterranean climate with its dry summers and damp winters are perfect for grape growing. Therefore, there may be something for all to enjoy when visiting the South of France.
Where else may alternative international film festivals take place?