India will be the official country of honor for the Cannes Film Market (May 17-25) this year.

This is the first time the market is having an official country of honor and the new tradition will be continued annually with different nations at future editions.

There s a neat coincidence: India is celebrating its 75th year of independence from British rule. The Cannes festival is also celebrating its 75th anniversary.

The market celebrations will kick off on May 18 at the Majestic Beach with an introduction from market executive directors Jérôme Paillard and Guillaume Esmiol and a welcome address from Anurag Singh Thakur, India’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

India will be prominently visible throughout the festival this year. Actor Deepika Padukone is on the jury for the main feature film competition. Indian filmmaker Shaunak Sen’s Sundance grand jury prize winning documentary “All That Breathes” is showing as a special screening. And Indian auteur Satyajit Ray’s “The Adversary” (1970) and Aravindan Govindan’s “The Circus Tent” will be screened at the festival’s Cannes Classics strand. In addition, world premieres of a selection of Indian films will be held at the Olympia Cinema.

The India Forum will be the first event to open the market’s conference program, on May 19. The panel discussion, “India: The Content Hub of the World,” will feature the Indian government’s secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Apurva Chandra, chair of India’s Central Board of Film Certification Prasoon Joshi and veteran Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.

Also featuring in the market will be ‘Goes to Cannes’ a May 21 event in which Film Bazaar and India’s National Film Development Corporation will present their selection of feature films in post-production, still looking for sales agents, distributors or festival exposure; and Cannes Next, where five Indian start-ups will showcase their projects through a dedicated pitching session, highlighting India’s latest innovations, on May 22. India will be part of the festival’s XR program.

Also on May 22, the MIB will join Indian professionals and talent at an animation-dedicated networking cocktail as part of the festival’s Animation Day.

The India Pavilion will be inaugurated at the Village International on May 18.

Paillard and Esmiol said: “We are delighted to have India as our Country of Honor this year at the Marché du Film; and even happier to be able to share the celebration of our anniversary that we have in common – 75 years of Indian independence coinciding with the 75th Festival de Cannes.”

Chandra added: “We are taking giant strides in making India the content hub of the world, and this collaboration will be crucial in making the world better acquainted with what India has to offer.”