History of the Cannes Film Festival – Part V Directors Fortnight and the 1970s


Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Cannes Film Festival, until 2003 called the International Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from all around the world and is widely considered the most important festival in the world in terms of impact as it draws attention to and raises profiles of films contributing to the development of cinema, globally boosts the industry and celebrates film at an international level, As such, a ten-part series on the Cannes Film Festival is underway with the publishing of the History of the Cannes Film Festival – Parts I,   II,   III, and IV.



Following the crisis of May 18, 1968, the Cannes festival needed a breath of fresh air and the Directors Fortnight (La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) of 1969 oxygenated the release of ideological constraints, opening the way for new ideas and cinema representation propagated on May 18th.


Directors Fortnight 1969


The Fortnight, initiated by the French Directors Guild, was a major evolution for independent cinema at the Festival, providing new directors an opportunity to make their work known. This new change quickly became the talk of the town, with the audience increasing exponentially from 4,000 filmgoers in 1970 to 72,000 in 1990.

Starting in 1999 Fortnight programming was overseen by an artistic director. The current artistic director is Paolo Moretti who has programmed Director’s Fortnight since 2018.



In 1972 Robert Favre Le Bret’s successor as the Cannes Film Festival’s Delegate General, Maurice Bessy, quickly understood the importance of parallel selections. He opened the Festival up to a wide range of films, such as the Studies and Documents section, the section dedicated to news films, and the section dedicated to compilation films and news archives.

Stay tuned for the advent of new media in the 1980s decade at the Cannes Film Festival!


Out of the Blue