Woody Allen To Open Cannes

American actor/director Woody Allen will open the Cannes film festival on May 15 with his comedy “Hollywood Ending.” It marks the first time the veteran star has attended the festival, organizers said on Thursday.

Allen also stars in the film along with Tea Leoni, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, George Hamilton and Treat Williams. “Hollywood Ending” is scheduled to open first in the United States in early May. It will be shown out of competition at Cannes.

Previous Allen films shown at Cannes include “Manhattan,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo” and “Hannah and her Sisters,” but the publicity-shy director has declined to attend the screenings.

“The French were my first supporters and have always showed huge generosity towards me,” Allen was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Over the last few years, they have invited me so many times that I now want to offer them something in return: I will therefore come personally to present my film 'Hollywood Ending', which I think will be perfect for the event.”

Allen, who makes on average one film per year, has rarely achieved commercial success on his home turf but has reaped critical and audience praise in Europe.

Gilles Jacob, the festival's organizer, said that seeing the diminutive Allen in the flesh would be “almost unimaginable, a quasi supernatural spectacle.”

Allen made his first appearance at Hollywood’s annual Oscar ceremony in March, when he agreed to introduce a segment on films that were made in New York, specially produced as an Oscar tribute to the city that suffered the most from the events of Sept. 11.