Organizers behind the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival have spent millions of dollars to build out a historic level of security in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks during one of the film world’s most prestigious, star-studded events.
Cannes police chief Yves Darros told Variety that security will “reach new heights” this year.
City officials reportedly spent $6 million to erect a wall of automatic retractable bollards near Palais, the festival’s epicenter. The massive wall-like structures are meant to prevent the type of terrorist attack that hit Nice, France on Bastille Day last year, when a radicalized man ran a truck into a large crowd of people, killing 84, including 10 children.
French officials determined that the Nice attack was planned by Islamic terrorists.
The legendary film festival draws tens of thousands of tourists and Hollywood elites to France each year, as nearly 100 feature films are shown and judged in a headline-making competition.
Last year’s event saw increased security personnel patrolling the city streets, including 200 armed officers and an additional 500 security cameras.
Still, the star-studded soirée quickly descended into chaos when a group of men riding in a speedboat, dressed in black ski masks, bulletproof vests, and combat uniforms stormed a French hotel frequented by several Hollywood heavyweights and journalists attending Cannes.
The incident was later confirmed to be a publicity stunt put on by Paris-based internet company, Oraxy. But it spooked guests at the guest legendary Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc and spurred local law enforcement into action.
“We have been talking internally about measures to take if anything happens — from communicating with each other right away to make sure everyone is safe, to securing the office if needed,” a top American sales agent with offices on the Croisette told Variety.
This year’s festival, starting May 17, is expected to attract such Hollywood A-listers as Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, and film director Sofia Coppola. Roman Polanski’s latest film, Based on a True Story, was added to the Cannes lineup last month.