The Cannes Film Festival takes place every year and it has gained immense popularity over the years as it is attended by producers, A-list directors and high-profile celebrities but, how much do we really know about it? Well for starters, this is the most prestigious film festival that is known for its exclusivity and long history of premiering some of the greatest films of all time.

Cannes Film Festival is an annual event that is held every year at Cannes in France but, the festival was not held in 1948 and 1950 due to financial problems. Until 2002, this film festival was known as International Film Festival.

Initially, 21 countries presented their films at the First Cannes Film Festival that took place on 20th September, 1946 at the former Casino of Cannes.

The jury members of the film festival preview new films of all genres, including documentaries and short films from all around the world. 

It is only during the early 1950s that this festival gained popularity and attracted a lot of tourism and media attention due to showbiz scandals, high-profile celebrities’ love affairs and controversies over the selection of films.

Major changes in the festival occurred only during the 1970s when Robert Favre Le Bret was named the new President and Maurice Bessy the General Delegate.

Robert Favre introduced important changes in the selection of the participating films, welcoming new techniques, and relieving the selection from diplomatic pressures. In 1972, Bessy created a committee to select French films, and another for foreign films.

The length of the festival was also decreased to 13 days, thus reducing the number of selected films.

Earlier, the Jury of the festival was composed by Film Academics but, Gilles Jacob, who assumed the position of General Delegate in 1978, started including celebrities and professionals from the film industry as a member.

Gilles Jacob was appointed Honorary President in 2000, and in 2002, the Festival officially adopted the name Festival de Cannes.

Now, lets move on to some interesting facts about the festival that you might not be aware of. 

Woody Allen has never taken part in the competition for the Palme d’Or (the highest prize awarded). Nevertheless, his films have repeatedly opened the Cannes Festival.

Photographers refused to shoot Isabelle Adjani on the red carpet in 1983 because the French actress neglected the press conference which offended the media. Paul Newman had the same experience in 1975.

The total length of the red carpet is about 2 kms long and the carpets are changed three times a day.

The first Cannes Festival poster was designed by Toulouse-Lautrec’s cousin, Jean-Gabriel Domergue. It was originally made for the festival in 1939 that was cancelled due to the break out of World War II.

The Palme d’Or, or Golden Palm award (highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival), was created in 1955 by a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer, Chopard.

About 200,000 people including actors, producers, directors, agents, fans and media personnels flock to the French city for the event, each year.

The approximate budget of the whole festival is 20 million euros, half of which comes from public funding, while the other half comes from group contributions and other official partners.

Cannes is an industry-only festival, which means that the screening tickets are not sold to the general public. All the attendees have to apply for a badge and be accepted.

This year, Elle Fanning has been named the youngest jury member ever at Cannes Film Festival. She will be reuniting with her 2006 ‘Babel’ director, Alejandro Iñárritu who is now the Jury President.

India has also actively particpated in the Cannes Film Festival from the very beginning. 

Neecha Nagar, directed by Chetan Anand, became the first Indian film to gain recognition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946. 

Bollywood actors like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor and Mallika Sherawat have regularly made appearances on the Cannes red carpet.

Other A-list Bollywood actors like Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Vidya Balan, Preity Zinta, Nawazuddin Sidiqque, Amitabh Bachchan, Kalki Koechlin and Nandita Das have also graced the red carpet in the past.

This year, Priyanka Chopra Jonas will make her appearance for the first time on the Cannes red carpet and everyone is eagerly waiting to see what she wears on the red carpet.

The 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival is currently taking place from 14th to 25th May 2019.