Everything You Need To Know About The Cannes Film Festival

In the countdown to the arguably most glamorous movie related event of the year we’ve got the lowdown on who and what to look out for at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Kicking off on the 11th of May and running till the 22nd the festival will premiere some of the year’s most prestigious films.

While not all are competing for the Palme D’or (The festival’s highest award previously won by films such as Pulp Fiction and Taxi Driver) the pressure is still on for films looking for distribution rights and funding. It’s not all fun and games, the dresses and tuxedos far from getting in the way of important business deals and networking opportunities.

Kelly Preston, John Travolta, Bruce Willis and Uma Thurman with Quentin Tarantino who has awarded wiyh the gold palm for his movie "Pulp Fiction" at the47th International Cannes Film Festival. Cannes, FRANCE - 21/05/1994/0702281641
Kelly Preston, John Travolta, Bruce Willis and Uma Thurman with Quentin Tarantino at the47th International Cannes Film Festival. Photo Credit: Hollywood Reporter


This year’s lineup will open with Woody Allen’s newest feature starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenburg. Cafe Society is set in 1930’s Hollywood and isn’t Stewart’s only film being showcased at the festival this year. Personal Shopper by Oliver Assayas is in the running for the Palme D’or and is described as a “ghost story set in the Parisienne fashion underworld”. Expectations for this film are realistically high, the second collaboration between writer and actress. The first, last years Clouds of Sil Maria was critically acclaimed, scoring Stewart a César award, making her the first American to nab the prize.


The festival will premiere a range of big Hollywood films set to be released late this year, George Clooney and Julia Roberts will reunite for Jodie Foster’s  Money MonsterRyan Gosling and Russell Crowe’s The Nice Guys tireless marketing campaigns will finally end after their film is screened and audiences are set to be delighted by Steven Spielburg’s The BFG.

The festival itself is undergoing a few changes this year, though the event is regarded as one of the last of it’s kind, forgoing ‘fame for the sake of fame’ in order to appease artists and respect the sanctity of film making. However, online giants Netflix and Amazon have thrown a spanner in the works. This is the first year that streaming services will have bidding access to the films being screened. With over 1500 films available for purchase the digital tycoons will give traditional distribution avenues a run for their money. The arrival of ‘New Media’ at the festival will work to promote a wider array of indie films, with more opportunity for films to be showcased.

People don’t just come to go to the beach, or to watch the films or for pleasure. They come to work. Buyers, sellers, distributors, producers, directors, all sorts of people. At Cannes, the films are the stars. – Thierry Frémaux, Festival Director 

The strict or rigid nature of the festival has come under scrutiny in previous years. Last year saw controversy after women were denied entry to some screenings including Todd Haynes’ Carol because they opted for flat shoes instead of stilettos in a small dig at the ‘standard of beauty’ present in mainstream media.

Cate Blancett, Todd Haynes and Rooney Mara at the 2015 festival Photo Credit: Jetts

This year’s main competition jury is headed by George Miller (Mad Max Franchise), he counts as Australia’s contribution to the festival and is joined by Kirsten Dunst, Donald Sutherland, Mads Mikkelsen, and Arnaud Desplechin.

Here’s to 11 days of great films, fashion and continuing tradition.