Welcome to Going Bionic, #209! Today we’re taking a peek ahead at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival; the world’s most culturally and economically significant film festival. Tucked against the pristine shores of the Mediterranean, the Cannes Film Festival overflows with opulence, grace and opportunity. Simply put, if you’re a cinema professional, or long to become one, Cannes is the place to be, and to be seen.

I’ve attended Cannes religiously since 2002, only missing 2011 when my twin daughters Zoe and Lena were born. Thus, short of my wife and I having another June baby (which is unlikely), I’ll be attending Cannes every year until either Lena or Zoe take over for me in a few decades. Until then, I’ll be right here, pounding on my “Cannes is the best film festival on the planet” drum, until each and every one of you readers out there make the trip to the South of France to experience it for yourself.

Side note: While the Cannes Film Market, i.e. the Marche du film, also runs concurrently with the Cannes Film Festival, today we’re focusing solely on the film festival. But, don’t worry; we’ll explore the Cannes Film Market next week.

So, without further ado, here’s why Cannes is the festival of festivals.

The Jury
Five women and four men comprise this year’s jury. The president is director, writer, and producer Jane Campion, who won the Palme d’Or for The Piano. Furthermore, there are only two Americans on the jury; writer, director, producer Sophia Coppola and actor Willem Dafoe. Other jury members are from China, South Korea, Denmark, France, Mexico and Iran.

What’s interesting to note is that Cannes jury represents a worldview, not just a Hollywood view. Thus, just because Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars are a shoe-in to walk up the red carpet of the Grand Theatre Lumiere, they rarely take home the festival’s biggest awards. This, my friends, keeps the festival’s integrity firmly intact.

Another advantage to having such a culturally diverse jury is the award-winning films at Cannes will spark immediate interest from multiple cultures worldwide (especially the countries where the jury members are from). Thus, having a hit film at Cannes makes you an overnight sensation in the world of film professionals. Should be wondering, the answer is “no,” no other film festival on the planet has the power to do so quite like Cannes does.

The Official Selections
Of the over 1,800 submissions this year, 49 filmmakers received “good news.” Of those 49, women directed 15 films.

As for the Competition Films, Canada led the globe with three of the 18 coveted spots. These include David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, Atom Egoyan’s The Captive, and Xavier Dolan’s Mommy. The United States nabbed two spots, Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman,” and Bennett Miller’s The Foxcatcher.

Furthermore, women directed two competition films, (the other 13 films directed by women were programmed in other prestigious areas of the festival, like Un Certain Regard). The women directed competition films include Alice Rohrwacher’s La Meraviglie and Naomi Kawase’s Still the Water.

As for notable films that are screening out of competition, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is flying onto the main screen at Cannes, as is Grace of Monaco, the Nicole Kidman starrer that will serve as the festival’s opening night film.

The Short Films
There were 3,450 short films submitted from 128 countries, but only nine of them made the cut from 11 countries (a few of them were co-productions). The countries represented this year include China, Romania, The United Kingdom, Georgia (the country, not the state), Japan, Columbia, Hungary, France, Belgium, Norway and Azerbaijan.  That’s right, no American or Canadian short films were chosen, again proving how much Cannes embraces a global vision of cinema.

Side Note: Of the nine shorts that got in, their lengths ranged from 8 minutes to 15 minutes, so if you’re planning on having your short competing at Cannes, don’t make a long one! In fact, I’m pretty sure Cannes won’t even take a look at shorts that are longer than 15-minutes.

The Dates
May 14-25, with the busiest weekend being May 16-18, and the awards being handed out May 24.

Okay, friends. That’s what I have for you today. As always, thank you for lending me your eyes, and I’d be honored to borrow them again next Tuesday. Until then, have a great week! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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