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Le Festival de Cannes

One of the big highlights on the French event calendar for May is the Le Festival International du Film de Cannes.

The 67th Cannes Film Festival will run from May 14th to 25th, 2014. This annual film festival previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world. Begun in 1946,the event brings together movie heavyweights from around the globe and is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious film festivals.

The invitation-only festival was created on the initiative of Jean Zay, Minister for Education and Fine Arts, who was keen to establish an international cultural event in France to rival the Venice Film Festival.The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis Lumière. However, it was not until over a year after the war ended that it finally took place, on 20 September 1946. It was initially held every September – except in 1948 and 1950 – and then every May from 1952 onwards.

Early editions of the Festival were primarily a social event where almost all the films went away with an award. In the 1950s, the event became more popular thanks to the attendance of celebrities such as Kirk Douglas, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot, Cary Grant, Romy Schneider, Alain Delon, Simone Signoret, Gina Lollobrigida, and many more. The appearance of stars from around the world on the Festival's red carpet and increasing media coverage quickly earned it a legendary international reputation.

The most prestigious award given out at Cannes is the Palme d'Or or Golden Palm for the best film. Awarded for the first time in 1955 to the film Marty directed by Delbert Mann, the Palme d'Or replaced the Grand Prix, which had been awarded to the best film. New Zealand director, Jane Champion remains the only woman to have won the Palme d'Or. She scored the top prize for "The Piano" in 1993.

For the 2014 event, Jane Campion has been announced as the head of the jury for the main competition section. The long delayed Grace of Monaco, directed by Olivier Dahan and starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, will open the festival.


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