Big footprint on the Croisette

Canal Plus is a ubiquitous force in Cannes

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CANNES -- You know them perhaps because of "that big stage in front of the Martinez with the huge crowds outside each night."

They're everywhere. On the red carpet for every gala screening, at the opening and closing ceremonies or on their huge Canal Plus patio in the Pantiero enjoying a gourmet meal with the stars against an ocean view. They are, without competition, the biggest television presence at the Festival de Cannes.

French pay TV group Canal Plus will once again be a ubiquitous force in Cannes, having renewed its contract as exclusive festival partner for the next three years.

Canal Plus is sending more than 480 people to the Riviera for its various for a budget of more than €6 million just for the 10-day event.

Canal Plus is exclusive partner of the Festival de Cannes and has exclusive broadcast rights to the opening and closing ceremonies hosted by Gallic comedian Edouard Baer.

Canal Plus' major Cannes event, "Le Grand Journal" TV show, will air live from 7:05-8:45 every night on its stage opposite the Hotel Martinez. "I've been going to Cannes every year for 26 years and every year I can't wait to go back because every year is different," said the show's host, Gallic TV personality Michel Denisot.

The network is planning more than 300 hours of Cannes programming including exclusive interviews with Penelope Cruz, Quentin Tarantino and his "Inglourious Basterds" cast, Monica Bellucci and Sophie Marceau, plus soccer star Eric Cantona. The network will air previous Cannes-selected titles including Arnaud Desplechin's "A Christmas Tale," Martin Scorcese's "Shine a Light" and a "Tarantino night" featuring a selection of the director's oeuvre. The network will also air two Cannes-concentrated episodes of its weekly movies show "L'Hebdo Cinema" and two episodes of film critics circle program "Le Cercle" debating the films in Competition.

Out of 20 Competition titles, Canal Plus has already bought 11, and out of 54 films in official selection, Canal Plus has already prepurchased 19.

"We won't be buying a lot of films in Cannes this year, because we already have them," said Canal Plus' head of cinema Manuel Alduy.