Cannes is the number-one international market for first-time films, 12 days of pure cinematic indulgence
Cannes is the number-one international market for first-time films, and multi-million dollar film deals are signed here every year. The festival attracts around a staggering quarter of a million people – all wanting a piece of the off camera action. The history of the Cannes Festival posters is also rich in terms of creativity.
But let’s take it right back to the start:
Cannes beginnings were somewhat less glamorous; the festival came about as an indirect result of the rise of fascist regimes in Europe during the 1930s. The world’s first international film festival was actually held in Venice in 1932. By 1938, the Venice Film Festival had become a vehicle for Fascist and Nazi propaganda, with Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Adolf Hitler’s Germany dictating what films were shown.
Outraged, France took steps to organize an alternative film festival when a group of critics and filmmakers got together to petition the French Government to finance an alternative international film festival – one where films could fairly bypass bias or political censorship. Afraid of tipping the balance with Mussolini, the French government was wary, but the lobby group put immense pressure on the Government, which eventually gave the film festival the much anticipated go-ahead – and in June 1939, a film festival, to be held from September 1 to 20 was announced.
“In 1955, the Palme d’ Or ( Golden Palm ) award for best film was introduced, and the festival was soon considered the most prestigious film festival in the world.”
But life imitating art, with its own far larger drama – on the morning of September 1st, the very day the festival was to begin, Hitler invaded Poland. Two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany … and no surprise for anyone that the festival was called off.
World War 2 lasted 6 years then the return of the Festival de Cannes was announced in 1946 … so after years of delays, scandal war and intrigue – real life dramas – the festival began for real on September 20th and brought to the silver screen cinematic dramas from a variety of participating countries. But the dramas off screen were not over just yet, and between 1948 and 1950, the festival was again canceled, this time for financial reasons.
Finally… finally…. in 1952, the Palais des Festivals was dedicated as a permanent home for the film festival, and in 1955, the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award for best film was introduced, and the festival was soon considered the most prestigious film festival in the world.