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Cannes Film Festival Announces Line Up

FILE - A guest takes a selfie with director Woody Allen (C) and his wife Soon-Yi Previn as they arrive on the red carpet at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.

The world's most famous film festival has announced its line up for this year's competition.

Cannes Film Festival officials say they sifted through a record-breaking 1,869 feature films to narrow the field down to the 49 that will be screened next month on the French Riviera. Twenty of the films will battle it out for the top prize, the Palme d'Or.

The films at the 69th edition of the festival will include the serious, as well as the silly.

American actor-director Sean Penn has received buzz for his film The Last Face, about aid workers in Africa, starring his ex-girlfriend Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem.

Loving, directed by American Jeff Nichols, is the true story about Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple in 1950s America, confronting racism.

The Neon Demon is a horror film about cannibal fashion models in Los Angeles.

Films by three female directors are in the competition for the top prize: Germany's Maren Ade with Toni Erdmann, Britain's Andrea Arnold with American Honey and France's Nicole Garcia with From the Land of the Moon.

Festival organizers have been previously criticized for the limited offerings by female directors.

"Even though the festival takes place in France, it is not a French festival. It is an international festival," said Cannes director Thierry Fremaux.

However, reporters noted at a news conference there is, so far, only one entry from Latin America and no films from Africa and the Middle East.

Woody Allen's Cafe Society, starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, is opening up the festival, but it is not in competition. Also showing out of competition will be the American thriller Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster with stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts. In addition, Steven Spielberg will screen out of competition his latest, The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant), based on Roald Dahl's children's classic.

The festival dates are May 11 to 22.