The Cannes International Film Festival, which was founded in 1946 under the authority of Jean Zay, Fine Arts Minister from the Front Populaire party, is an international film festival that is held each year over twelve days in the French city of Cannes in the Alpes-Maritimes.
Over the years, this festival has become the most highly publicized in the world, and its influence has continued to grow thanks to the presence of media and sponsors at the event, notably at the opening ceremony and the traditional red carpet parade, with its legendary "24 steps of glory." Despite its prestige, the event has regularly suffered from criticism and has sparked a number of scandals and controversies that are widely reported in the French and foreign magazines and other media.
Each year in the second half of May, the city of Cannes is invaded by filmmakers and film lovers, and taken over by photographers. The main film screenings are held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, located on the Boulevard de la Croisette.
A number of parallel festival sections have been created over the years as sidebar events. They include the Directors' Fortnight, the Cinéfondation section, Critics' Week, and Un Certain Regard, as well as the Cannes Film Market, which is the largest event of its kind in the world. During these festivities, numerous producers and distributors attending the event find opportunities to secure funding partners for their upcoming films or to sell the rights to films that are already completed to distributors and television networks from around the world.
While it was originally considered a tourist-oriented high-society event, the festival was founded with the aim of honoring the best film, best director, best actor, and best actress in the international film competition. Other awards have been added over the years, with prizes vote by juries of movie professionals, actors, artists and intellectuals, supplementing the main awards, which include the Palme d'Or, Jury Prize, Grand Prix, and the Camera d'Or. Nowadays, the Official Selection is intended to reflect current global film production and generally highlights the work of independent and auteur films.