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Sept. 20, 1946: Cannes Film Festival is founded


The International Cannes Film Festival is not only one of the world’s most groundbreaking cinema showcases, it’s undoubtedly the most glamorous. Every year, the festival brings hundreds of the world’s most famous people to this luxurious spot on the French Riviera.

Known for its stately 19th-century villas, palm-lined promenades and warm weather tempered by sea breezes, Cannes has drawn beautiful people for hundreds of years. But it wasn’t until after World War II that its long-held film festival idea came to fruition.

Originally held in the fall, the festival was moved earlier in the year to avoid clashing with the Venice Film Festival. In its early years, Cannes didn’t look exactly as it does today: It had to skip a couple years early on because of budget problems, and its then-new venue’s roof blew off in 1949.

Although the festival’s mission is to show films based solely on artistic merit, many commercial films have had their premieres at the festival (“Madagascar 3” screened there in 2012). Cannes draws A-list celebrities who come as much to spend time in the south of France as to see new films. While tourists can visit Cannes any time, the festival screenings are not open to the public – another reason celebs love it.


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