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Cannes Film Festival Information

Cannes Can Be Confusing — We're Breaking It Down

The Cannes Film Festival brings Hollywood's biggest stars to the South of France each year, and aside from its cinematic significance, the festival is known for its elegant red carpet setting, star-studded parties on La Croisette, and all-around glamour. While Cannes has been an annual event since 1946, its unique day-to-day protocol is still confusing. As a helpful guide, we are breaking down the frequently asked questions about the famous film festival. Keep reading for the FAQs.

Q: First of all, how do you pronounce Cannes?
A: The correct pronunciation of Cannes is "kan." As in a can of soda.

Q: Why are the stars always posing together during the day?
A: "Photocalls" are to thank for getting the cast of movies like Catching Fire or The Great Gatsby together for pictures. A photocall, which is part of an actor's press duties for a film, typically happens before a press conference or Q&A session. There are many photocalls each day, which means more than enough hot pictures of every cast.

Q: Who is selected for the jury?
A: The festival's board of directors hand-picks a jury each year. Those selected are usually well-known and can include actors, directors, or cultural icons from around the world. Jurors are chosen based on their work and respect from their peers in the industry. This year's jury includes Nicole Kidman, Steven Spielberg, and Ang Lee, who have all made red carpet appearances on their way into screenings.

Q: What does the jury decide?
A: The jury is solely responsible for choosing which films will receive awards. Awards include the Palme d'Or, best actor, best actress, best director, and more.

Q: Why is everyone talking about the Palme d'Or?
A: The Palme d'Or is the grand prize of the festival. It is given to the director of the best feature film in the official competition every year. Past winners include Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life and Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction.

Q: People keep talking about the Croisette. What is it?
A: Promenade de la Croisette, which is the proper name, stretches along the coastline of Cannes. The Croisette houses many of the happening hot spots like shops, restaurants, and hotels and gets taken over by the festival each year.

Q: What's up with all the parties?
A: It's not just about the movies in Cannes. There are a serious amount of soirees during the festival each year too. Many are held by one of the festival's sponsors and give the stars that flock to the South of France a place to mingle. This year has boasted plenty, like the Belvedere VIP bash, which brought out Liam Hemsworth and Solange Knowles. There are also fetes to celebrate specific films, such as the official Catching Fire party, which are usually attended by the stars and film's supporters.

Q: What does it mean for a film to be in competition at the festival?
A: About 20 feature films are selected to be in competition, which puts them in the running for the big prize of the Palme d'Or. These films are a part of what is known as the Official Selection and are screened at the famous Grand Theatre Lumière. Behind the Candelabra, starring Matt Damon, is one of the films in competition this year. Un Certain Regard is the other category, which is separate from the official competition for the Palm d'Or. Un Certain Regard category aims to highlight films that are original, and the prize involves a grant for distribution in France. This year The Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson, is competing in Un Certain Regard.

Q: But why would a film be at the festival if it is out of competition?
A: While they are not competing for the Palme d'Or, these films do have an important part in the festival. They are mostly films with the potential to impact on film, like this year's The Great Gatsby, which is out of competition. The special and midnight screenings give the films an opportunity to be viewed by all of the important people in the industry.

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