about the 2020 Official Selection

Due to the global pandemic, the Cannes Film Festival didn't took place this year under its usual conditions, nor on the dates it was scheduled: May 12th to 23rd, 2020. However, cancelation has never been an option. As you probably know, the Festival was canceled only once, in 1939. And only one other edition did not go to completion, it was in 1968. In 2020, if the International Film Festival (the FIF as locals like to call it) could not take its usual form, it was necessary for it to take another form. It could not just disappear.

It was also because of the filmmaker’s hard work that we didn’t want to give up. We couldn’t send everyone to 2021. So, we continued our selection. And it was the right decision. By choosing to work until the end to establish a selection, we received more than 2000 feature films, 2067 to be precise.

This Selection is here, and it’s a beautiful one. Even though movie theatres have been shut for three months - for the first time since the invention of film screening by the Lumière Brothers on December 28, 1895 - this Selection reflects that cinema is more alive than ever. It remains unique, irreplaceable. We live in a world where moving images are in constant evolution, whether we talk of the way the movies are shown or the movies themselves. Cinema makes a difference thanks to those who make it, those who give it life and those who receive it and make it glorious. "Coming soon to a theatre near you": the formula has never been so compelling. We will see it soon: cinema is not dead, it’s not even sick.

To be adamant in our decision to deliver an Official Selection is ultimately, for the Festival, the best way to help cinema, as well as focus on the films that will be released in theaters in the coming months.

Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate

During the winter and spring of 2020, the selection screenings continued. First collectively in the Festival office in Paris, and then individually. Selection committee members received films via the Internet and watched them at home. Then, through written exchanges and many conversations, we distinguished the films that caught our attention. It was quite a busy confinement!

Some of the titles revealed on June 3, 2020 appeared in commentator’s forecasts. They saw in the selection a lot of recognized filmmakers whose work was known to be ready this year. Other films, also expected, viewed and loved by the selection committee, will be absent because their authors and producers have chosen to postpone their release to winter or spring 2021 and thus apply for festivals next year - including Cannes. Therefore, their absence in the Official Selection this year won’t be surprising. We’ll meet them again in 2021.


On the other hand, we’ll see that many discoveries are shaping this Selection 2020. A festival’s purpose is to place emerging talents on the world map. In Cannes, we’re fully aware of this. In this year like no other, we saw films made for the big screen masterfully occupy small screens. So we want to confirm our desire to preserve the mythology of cinema as well as to look towards its future.

To be adamant in our decision to deliver an Official Selection is ultimately, for the Festival, the best way to help cinema, as well as focus on the films that will be released in theaters in the coming months. The reopening of cinemas, after months of closure, is a crucial issue. The Cannes Film Festival intends to accompany these films and support their careers in France and abroad, as well as confirm the importance of theaters as in what makes the value of the Seventh Art. We know that many festivals are taking the same position.

With our teams in both Cannes and Paris, but also alongside the artists and professionals of the selected movies, and the exhibitors and festival directors around the world, the Cannes Film Festival will maintain its mission of putting cinema at the heart of the world, as it has been doing since its first edition We will bear witness to cinemas imperious presence and prodigious vitality.

Viva il cinema !

See you in the movie theaters.


Thierry Frémaux


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