As the world begins to settle back in and make up for the year of lost time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are finally beginning to see the promised rescheduling of many prominent events that we never thought could be canceled until now. France’s renowned film festival, Cannes Film Festival, has officially announced their new dates for their 74th year. For the first time, it will take place in the summer, from July 6 to July 17, after being pushed back from its original May dates.
Though the rest of the Jury will be announced in early June, Oscar Award-winning filmmaker, Spike Lee, will return as President of the Jury. He was previously scheduled for the festival’s 2020 run, however, the cancellation prevented it from happening. Lee is set to make history as the first African-American and first person from the African diaspora to fill the role.
“I have a special place in my heart for Paris, for France, and the Cannes Film Festival,” Lee said. “Way back in 1986, my very first film, She’s Gotta Have It, played there, and it was my introduction to the world of cinema. So Cannes will always have a deep spot in my heart.”
Since then, the actor, screenwriter, producer, and editor has had several of his films premiere at Cannes Film Festival, including Do The Right Thing (1989), Summer of Sam (1999), and BlacKkKlansman (2018). “Throughout the months of uncertainty we’ve just been through, Spike Lee has never stopped encouraging us,” Pierre Lescure, President of the Festival, said. “This support is finally coming to fruition and we could not have hoped for a more powerful personality to chart our troubled times.”
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The festival, which was first introduced to the world in 1946, is one of the Big Five film festivals next to Venice Film Festival (Italy), Berlin International Film Festival (Germany), Toronto International Film Festival (Canada), and Sundance Film Festival (United States), debuting new films from all over the world. This year, their main initiative is to focus on providing an environmentally sound event. As traveling to the festival accounts for 89% of the event’s carbon footprint, registrants will need to pay an extra €20, which will then be donated as an environmental contribution. The remaining 11% of the carbon footprint will be made up for in a donation made by the festival to local, national, and international carbon offset programs.
Though tickets are not on sale for the general public, they will be continuing with their “Cannes Cinéphiles” and “3 Days in Cannes” programs that give aspiring filmmakers and cinema junkies an opportunity to attend the French Riviera’s event. These programs welcomed over 7,000 applicants in 2019 – the last time the festival was held.
“Cannes Cinéphiles” aims to give film enthusiasts and educational groups a chance to attend the festival. Though they do not have access to the Palais des Festivals, which is reserved for film professionals, they will be able to view films from the Official Selection as well as attend Semaine de la Critique (International Critics’ Week) and Quinzaine des Réalisateurs (Directors’ Fortnight). School groups, film students, cultural or film club associations, and members of cinema clubs are encouraged to apply for a pass.
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For young people not involved in an association, “3 Days in Cannes” is a three-day pass giving access to the Official Selection (Competition, Out of Competition, Special Screenings, Un Certain Regard, Cannes Classics, and Cinéma de la Plage), Palais des Festivals, and a program at Les Arcades cinemas. This exclusive pass is available for 18 to 28-year-olds who apply through the film festival’s website beginning early next month.
With accreditations being open through the end of April for those submitting work, it may be a little while until we hear the final selection of included films. As long as France’s COVID-19 regulations are able to ease up in time for this summer’s Cannes Film Festival, there should be no problem restoring the cinematic traction that made this event so famed in the first place.