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Founded in 1946 at the initiative of Jean Zay, the Cannes International Film Festival, renowned the world over, takes place every year for 2 weeks in May, in the city of Cannes.
When it started, the film festival was little more than a gathering of big names and everyone was awarded a prize. However, the Cannes Film Festival rapidly grew in prestige and popularity during the 1950's, due to the presence of international stars such as Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Kirk Douglas, Brigitte Bardot, Cary Grant, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. Created in 1954 and crafted for the first time by the jewelry designer, Lucienne Lazon, the Golden Palm is awarded to the director of the best full-length film and has become the symbol of the Festival.
The city of Cannes is transformed during the entire period of the festival in order to host the numerous visitors, festival-goers, reporters and celebrities. All eyes are on the Croisette, where crowds throng in front of the prestigious Hôtel Martinez or at the entrance to the Palais des Festivals, their attention riveted on the famous red carpet. Although occasionally criticized for having become too touristy or ceremonial, the Cannes Film Festival has maintained its prestige and continues every year to host the biggest names in film and reward the best films in the competition.