Big-Name Contenders at Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival–independent film’s version of Hollywood’s Academy Awards–is gearing up to recognize the world’s top films.

Among the contenders for the Palm d’Or–the festival’s top award–are 22 films, including British director Mike Leigh‘s All or Nothing, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s 10 and Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Le Fils (The Son). All four individuals have films that have won the Palm d’Or in past festivals.

Among the United States’ contributors, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (Roger & Me) will present Bowling for Columbine–a film that looks at gun culture, beginning with the 1999 Colorado shootings at Columbine High School.

Paul Thomas Anderson
(Magnolia) will present his film Punch-Drunk Love, starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson. Alexander Payne (Election) will screen About Schmidt, starring Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates.

The Palm d’Or will be decided by a nine-member jury including the sultry Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) and the sleek Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and will be headed by quirky director David Lynch (Mulholland Drive), The Associated Press reports.

55 years in the running, the festival on the French Riviera is one of the leaders in promoting independent film, giving filmmakers in and out of the Hollywood limelight a place to screen their films.

The celebration kicks off May 15 with Woody Allen‘s non-competing film Hollywood Ending and ends May 26 with And Now…Ladies And Gentlemen by French director Claude Lelouch.