Cannes Film Festival: 75 years of celebrating growth

By Zion Rufus

Bringing together about 35,000 film professionals and the biggest “who is who” from across the world, the occasion of the 75th edition of the movie industry’s most glamorous event, Cannes Film Festival, an annual festival held in Cannes ended beautifully with the likes of Tom Cruise and Forest Whitaker bagging the festival’s highest honor “Palme d’Or”.

Following its cancellation in 2020 as a result of strict health protocols and travel restrictions, it was not much of a wonder when the event yet again pulled a massive gathering between May 17 and 28, 2022.

For over seven decades, Festival de Cannes, as widely referenced, has supported, celebrated, reviewed and awarded some of the world’s finest cinema works, new films and documentaries of all genres, personalities, and producers in movie industries across the world with a discerning jury of A-listers chosen from a wide range of highly respected international film and art professionals and appointed by the Festival’s board of directors to choose which films will receive a Cannes award.

This year, the exceptional invitation-only event acknowledged popular American actor, Forest Whitaker with a “Palme d’Or”; Tom Cruise was awarded an honorary Palme d’Or near the beginning of the festival. Other notable wins include: Best Director: Park Chan-wook for Decision to Leave; Best Screenplay: Boy From Heaven; Best Actress: Zar Amir Ebrahimi for Holy Spider; Best Actor: Song Kang-ho for Broker; Camera d’Or: Gina Gammell and Riley Keough for War Pony; Short Film Palme d’Or: The Water Murmurs; Grand Prix: Stars at Noon, directed by Claire Denis and Close directed by Lukas Dhont; Jury Prize: Eo, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski and Le Otto Montagne, directed by Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix van Groeningen; and Palme d’Or : Triangle of Sadness, directed by Ruben Östlund.

Informed by UNESCO’s recent report on the film Industry in Africa, its trends, challenges, and opportunities for growth, and how strategic investments and policy reforms could help the African film industry develop rapidly, and the outcry for more representation of African stories and participation of producers of African descent, the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival featured a major round-table organized by UNESCO to promote the African film industry; offering an opportunity for international actors to highlight the African film industry and explore key challenges and concrete initiatives that contribute to addressing them, especially those designed for youth and for the preservation of African Film heritage.

In 2019, 10 Nollywood stars including Rita Dominic, Joke Silva, and Kunle Afolayan joined other African film stars to sell the African narratives, where that same year Mati Diop, a French-Senegalese actress and director, became the first black female director to win an award in Cannes Film Festival’s 72-year history for the movie “Atlantics”; Souleymane Cissé was the first African filmmaker to win a prize at the Cannes Festival.

Nigeria also gained global recognition at the Film Festival when the Nollywood movie “2 weeks in Lagos” directed by Canadian based multiple award-winning filmmaker, Kathryn Fasegha got screened. 



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