International Cinema and Cannes Film Festival Museum: strides made in the cultural programming

Buzz, Film

The ambition of Europe’s largest Cinema and Cannes Film Festival Museum is taking shape. The local council is working towards providing Cannes and the whole of France, with a cultural facility befitting of its world-class renown in the 7th art. To this end, David Lisnard has enlisted the support of experts from major French institutions, such as the Cinemathèque Française, chaired by Costa-Gavras and run by Frédéric Bonnaud, and the French International Film Festival Association, run by its President, Pierre Lescure[1] and managing director, Thierry Frémaux. Through these partnerships, Cannes town hall will enhance the cultural museum offer in the various sections of this Mecca of film. This major undertaking is part of the “Cannes On Air” municipal strategy to bolster the creative economy and the audio-visual industry.

“Cannes has the historic and cultural validity required to play host to a major international museum dedicated to the 7th Art, which France and Europe need to have. Beyond the twelve days of the Cannes Film Festival, this high-level international facility will help generate economic, artistic and tourism spinoffs year-round. In close collaboration with our partners, we are making real strides towards determining the cultural programming, which will be both of a high level and entertaining. Through its international dimension and its high-quality content, the future venue in Cannes will be a museum of national importance”.

David Lisnard, Cannes Mayor

A ground-breaking ambition for France and Europe, offering visitors a unique experience

As the host of the world’s largest film festival, Cannes is the legitimate French city in which to build the International Cinema and Cannes Film Festival Museum. The local council is planning to construct an innovative and education heritage facility, aimed at moviegoers and visitors.

To bring this major project to fruition, on 26 May 2022, Cannes signed an agreement with the French International Film Festival Association (AFFIF) regarding the cultural and artistic orientations of the future building. This agreement complements the partnership established in July 2021 with the Cinemathèque Française and the French National Cinema and Animated Image Centre.

With a surface area of 5,300 square metres, the experiential museum will feature a number of themes and will include in particular:

– a permanent exhibition about the history of world cinema, produced by the Cinemathèque Française (2,500 square metres), entitled Long live the cinema! It will offer a remarkable and recreational visit through set reconstitutions (George Méliès’ studio and the gearwheels from Chaplin’s Modern Times) and a display of machines, costumes, objects and excerpts from legendary films throughout the visit. Immersive projections and interactive displays will enable visitors to get to grips with special effects and editing, thus supplementing the tour ;

– an exceptional permanent exhibition devoted to the International Film Festival designed by the AFFIF (1,000 square metres). This will allow the prestigious event to be lengthened and perpetuated beyond the twelve days during which it comes to town each May. Visitors will delve into the glamorous, beautiful, historical, momentous and authentic universe of the event and discover what goes on behind the scenes. The museum will not be static and will be supplemented each summer by news from the Festival’s latest edition ;

– a temple dedicated to children aged 6 to 12, designed by Universciences[2] and made to look like film sets (500 square metres). This area will help children learn about visual images and encourage youth creativity through fun and novel experiences. Visitor tours will be self-guided and composed of six workshops centred around writing, image, light, sound, acting and animation films (visit duration : 1:30) ;

– a studio lab offering a behind-the-scenes look and sharing production secrets about sets and special effects (300 square metres). It will be aimed at all those wishing to develop their ideas but who do not have a place or the resources required to turn them into a reality. Visitors will be able to create prototypes and small sets and be involved with filming sessions and customised or à la carte masterclasses. They will also learn and get to grips with production techniques and enhance their creativity ;

– “Blockbusters”, an area for hosting large, temporary exhibitions (1,000 square metres) ;

– an auditorium intended for meetings with professionals and the general public (650 places) ;

– an area designed for commercial activities (restaurant, café, concept store boutique) (1,500 square metres).

This facility, a veritable “Guggenheim of the 7th art”, will feature a strong architectural and emblematic concept, in line with its cultural, economic and tourism aim and its international reach.

Furthermore, the town’s first choice for the site is avenue Picaud, close to the town centre, on an almost 2-hectare plot. The next stages involve confirming the site of choice and developing private and public partnerships for financing the building, whose estimated cost is 170 million euros tax exclusive. The work will be carried out in accordance with the sound financial management spearheaded by David Lisnard since 2014. The site will be delivered in 2028.

A cinema museum consistent with the municipal “Cannes On Air” strategy

Cannes is a year-round cinema capital thanks to the municipal and global “Cannes On Air” programme, which aims to provide Cannes with a comprehensive audio-visual industry. More broadly, the ambition is to build an audio-visual “Silicon Valley” on the French Riviera around Cannes, Sophia Antipolis and of course the Victorine studios located in Nice, which are an integral part of the Riviera’s film ecosystem.

Cannes is a global hub for professional trade fairs and large public events based around the audio-visual industry and creativity, mainly thanks to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. It is the leading French destination outside of Paris for hosting MICE trade shows with a global reach. It is also the enforcer of Cannes’ and Riviera’s economic expansion.

What’s more, in September 2021, Cannes town hall opened the Georges Méliès university campus in Cannes-La Bocca, with a core focus of writing, content creation and audio-visual project management. The building also houses a business city, which currently supports 14 creative economy companies with their entrepreneurial projects. This combination of higher education and economic activity aims to generate the creation of innovative activities.

For the distribution and dissemination of audio-visual works, a high-tech cinema multiplex, “Cineum Cannes”, designed by famed architect Rudy Ricciotti, opened in summer 2021. It boasts 12 screens and 2,426 seats.

Cannes’ commitment to the development and promotion of the film industry was acknowledged by its inclusion in the international UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the Film category in November 2021.