Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 12:57 UK

In pictures: Cannes preparations

A billboard advertising opening night film Up

The 62nd Cannes Film Festival kicks off later with a gala screening of opening night film Up, the latest effort from US animation powerhouse Pixar and the first 3D movie to launch this prestigious event.

Up executive producer John Lasseter

Up's executive producer John Lasseter, newly arrived and clad in one of his trademark shirts, is one of the first celebrity guests to face the massed ranks of Cannes' resident photographers.

Preparations outside the Palais des Festivals

The steps of Cannes' imposing Palais des Festivals - nicknamed 'The Bunker' by festival regulars - has been fitted with its traditional red carpet for the first night screening.

Preparations outside the Palais des Festivals

The world's media is already taking their positions for the gala event, the first major screening of a 12-day festival that will premiere new films by Ken Loach, Ang Lee and Quentin Tarantino.

Palme d'Or

All will be competing for the Palme d'Or prize, won last year by French movie The Class. This year sees 20 titles in all compete for the world-famous honour, a palm frond cast in gold.

Cannes beachfront

Cannes' legendary beachfront has been taken over by tents as film companies and organisations from around the world prepare to party in the sun, network and do business.

Marche du Film

It is in the sprawling Marche du Film (Film Market) underneath the Palais des Festivals, however, that the majority of this year's deals will be signed and sealed.

Tents outside the Palais des Festivals

Industry players say there will be fewer deals done this year due to the current economic climate, though that could mean better films will be picked up. Only quality stories will get funds, they say.

Transformer model outside the Carlton Hotel

Hollywood films will be well represented this year, as this model of a Transformer robot outside the Carlton hotel suggests. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is released in June.

Billboards outside the Carlton Hotel

The Carlton Hotel on Canne's mile-long Croisette is a popular site for advertising hoardings, as these posters for Terminator Salvation and GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra prove.

Fans awaiting the stars outside the Palais des Festivals

For fans hoping for a glimpse of the stars or maybe even a precious autograph, it pays to take your place early outside the Palais des Festivals - and bring a chair to sit on.

Film advert outside the Palais des Festivals

The festival has been held since 1946, though it was cancelled in 1948 and 1950 due to lack of funds. The stars began arriving in 1949 and have been a constant presence ever since.

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