There are now 19 films in competition at the festival.

In an unusual 11th hour addition, the Cannes Film Festival has announced that Ken Loach’s latest film Route Irish has joined the Official Competition.

There are now 19 films in competition at the festival which kicks off on Wednesday evening with the first competition screening – Wang Xiaoshuai’s Chongqing Blues - on Thursday morning.

Loach is a Cannes favourite and was in competition last year with Looking For Eric. He won the Palme d’Or in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

Route Irish
, which is backed by France’s Why Not Productions and Wild Bunch, is produced by Rebecca O’Brien and written by Paul Laverty, both long-time collaborators with Loach.

It tells the story of Frankie (John Bishop) and Fergus (Mark Womack), who work as private security contractors in Iraq, having already served as soldiers. But when Frankie is killed, his friend is determined to find out the truth behind his death with the help of Frankie’s partner (Andrea Lowe). It shot in Jordan and the UK.

The film is one of three competition titles being sold by Wild Bunch, the others being Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods And Men and Nikita Mikhalkov’s Burnt By The Sun 2: Exodus.