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Marché du Film

Retrospective: Birth of the Marché

Once upon a time, in the sun-drenched coastal city of Cannes, the seed for a celebration of cinema took root. The year was 1946, and the world was still recovering from the turmoil of World War II. Amidst the lingering shadows of conflict, the very first Cannes Film Festival emerged as a glimmering beacon of hope, shining a light on the captivating stories and artistry of the silver screen.

That first festival was a glamorous affair, attended by the brightest stars of the era, such as Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, and Cary Grant. As they strolled down the red carpet, the world watched in awe, captivated by the magic and allure of cinema. The festival's premiere saw the screening of "The Lost Weekend" by Billy Wilder, a film that would go on to win the Grand Prix, the precursor to the prestigious Palme d'Or. Thus, a new era of filmmaking began, with the Cannes Film Festival as a cornerstone of the international film calendar.

As the festival blossomed, so too did the need for a platform that would bring together the film industry's key players. In 1959, the first Marché du Film was born, a glamorous bazaar where the world's most powerful distributors, producers, and buyers could meet, negotiate deals, and celebrate their love for cinema. The inaugural Marché was a humble affair compared to today's massive market, but it was imbued with the same spirit of creativity, ambition, and grandeur.

The Marché du Film and Cannes Film Festival quickly became synonymous with the golden age of cinema. Icons such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and Marlon Brando graced the French Riviera with their presence, adding an irresistible allure to the events. The market and the festival grew in tandem, each year bringing new opportunities for filmmakers, producers, and buyers
to connect and collaborate in the picturesque setting of the French Riviera. In the ensuing decades, the Cannes Film Festival and Marché du Film continued to evolve, all while maintaining their reputation for glamour and artistic excellence. The festival launched the careers of legendary filmmakers and actors, while the Marché became an essential hub for the global film industry.

As we look forward to the 2023 edition of this illustrious affair, we cannot help but be enchanted by its beginnings, when the world's most talented artists and savvy businesspeople congregated under the Mediterranean sun for the first time. It's a legacy that continues to shape the world of cinema today, a testament to the enduring magic and allure of the Marché du Film and the Cannes Film Festival.

For more tips and insight into making the most of the Marché, read our full Cannes Survival Guide here.