The First Festival, 1946
French minister for education and fine arts Jean Zay wanted an international event for France to rival the Venice Film Festival, which had begun in 1932. Several French cities wanted to host; Cannes was selected over Biarritz because it had better hotels. Variety reported in June 1939 that a Cannes festival was planned for September, under the presidency of Louis Lumiere; however, WWII put a freeze on any European festivities.
Cannes finally debuted in September 1946. Variety arranged for coverage, including a special report from Margaret Herrick, the executive secretary of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Herrick marveled at the speed of travel: It