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A guide to the Cannes Film Festival

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Film festivals are held throughout the year in various cities of the world like Berlin, Venice, Park CityToronto and even the Italian capital, with the Rome Film Festival. These festivals generally attract members of the film fraternity, film students and enthusiasts. However the Cannes Film Festival, which is held in the palm tree-lined seaside resort of Cannes on the French Riviera in May every year, attracts the attention of not only film makers and actors but also that of the paparazzi and the world’s glitterati. This twelve day event is considered to be as glamorous and as newsworthy as prime event of the film world namely the Academy Awards or ‘the Oscars’.

When is the Cannes Film Festival

This year the Cannes Film Festival will be held from the 13th to 24th of May in the stunningly beautiful city of Cannes.

Getting to Cannes

The best way to get to Cannes is to fly into the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and then take a shuttle bus which gets you the bus station in Cannes in about half an hour depending on the traffic. You can even choose to book a taxi for the trip or even avail of the brand new motorcycle transfer service. However if money is not an object then the best way to get to Cannes is via helicopter service from the Nice airport.

Accommodation in Cannes.

Most of the Hollywood bigwigs choose to stay in around the main festival zone on the tony Boulevard La Croisette which is the most famous street in Cannes renowned for its many chi-chi stores and splendid restaurants.

The Festival Zone

The epicenter of the festival is the grand Palais des Festivals et des Congrès which is the located on the Riviera. This grand exhibition space has many screening rooms and no less then eighteen auditoriums. The famous Cannes red carpet is laid out on steps of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and this site becomes the cynosure of the world’s eyes for the entire duration of the festival as elegantly attired glamorous celebrities walk the red carpet every evening on their way to the various screenings to the delight of the paparazzi and the numerous star gazers who assemble there. The Festival Zone also includes the International Village which has country specific pavilions that showcase different artistic exploits of the various countries who participate in the festival.


Unlike other film festivals though Cannes is strictly a film fraternity affair and in order to attend screenings and other festival events you are required to have an accreditation. The general public cannot access official festival venues which are limited to only members of the film industry and the press. However some film enthusiasts and film students can get access to the festival events through the Cannes Cinéphiles program.

The Films

Several movie makers choose to have the world premieres of their movies at the Cannes Film Festival. The world premieres of movies like Kung Fu Panda, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull were all held at the last Cannes Film Festival.

There are several sections in which the many films are screened these include Films in Competition (Compétition), Films out of Competition (Hors Compétition), World Cinema (Un Certain Regard), Cinéfondation (which is the competitive category for short and medium length films), etc.

The Festival also includes events like the ‘Quinzaine des Réalisateurs’ which is the Directors fortnight and the ‘Semaine Internationale de la Critique’ or International Critics Week and the ‘Marché du Film’ which is a industry event mainly held for the buying and selling of films.

The Grand Prize

If the Academy Awards award an Oscar to Best Picture, at Cannes the Best Picture is awarded with the prestigious Palme D’Or which is a gold palm statuette that quite fittingly symbolizes the many palm trees that line the boulevards of festival’s destination.

Photo of the Cannes Film Festival by unsure shot

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer anjeeta nayar

Anjeeta Nayar is a professional freelance writer and blogger based in New York City. She relocated to the Big Apple from Mumbai two years ago. She loves New York City for its incredible buzz and energy. It really is the city that never sleeps and there is always something to do and see here. In addition to being a writer and blogger, she is also an avid traveler with London and cities in S.E.Asia being the places she enjoys visiting the most!

2 responses to “A guide to the Cannes Film Festival”

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  1. EventToronto (EventToronto) says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 10:22

    A guide to the Cannes Film Festival | Venere Travel Blog (via Festivals Toronto – Google Blog Search)

  2. EventLondon (Event Feed London) says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 10:23

    A guide to the Cannes Film Festival | Venere Travel Blog (via Festivals London – Google Blog Search)

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