A surprise film is to replace the outdoor screening on Sunday (May 13) of local hit Amelie From Montmartre, which has been cancelled.

Amelie was shoehorned into the festival after pressure from its producer and other Cannes leading lights, who upbraided the selectors for its non-inclusion. Cannes' artistic director Thierry Fremaux then chose to programme the film in an outdoor screening as a gesture to the general public who otherwise have little access to festival films.

A festival spokesman said: "there were obviously concerns about the quality of the sound in an open air projection. But we can confirm that a film from the Official Selection will take its place at 23:00h."

Fremaux explained that the screening, originally destined for the square outside the Palais des Festivals, had been cancelled because the festival could not guarantee to meet the technical demands made by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. "There is no polemic about the decision," said Fremaux to French news agency, AFP.

"Jean-Pierre Jeunet is someone who pays such attention to detail , is so careful , that he would have been very unhappy if it had been anything less than perfect," said the film's producer Claudie Ossard. Ossard also predicted that the film, which is sold internationally by UGC International, would notch up two million spectators by the end of its second week.

Despite the screening disappointment, the film's stars and director will climb the steps and be presented at Cannes.