When it comes to film awards, the names of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and John Ford will inevitably come to mind. But the history of cinema is rich in terms of memorable events and awards that aren’t so well-known. Here are some of them.

Winsor McCay’s Animated Short Film Competition

One of the best-known events to ever come out of the French film industry is the annual animation short film competition, which was founded in 1927 and named in honor of American cartoonist Winsor McCay. It was originally called the Prix de la Critique Animée but was later renamed in recognition of McCay.

The competition is an essential part of the French film industry’s calendar, attracting entries from all over the world and encouraging animators to pursue their craft. The event is famous for its bizarre and imaginative shorts, many of which deal with everyday life in surreal ways.

This year’s edition of the competition, which was held last month and saw a record number of entries (214, to be exact), was no exception. The best of these were showcased in Paris at the annual Festival de Cannes, where they were awarded the coveted Palme d’Or. Among the films that premiered at the festival was ‘Souffle’ by Japanese director Mamoru Oshii, an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’ that follows a caterpillar’s evolution into a human being. The French Academy described it as “a dazzling cinematic artwork” and awarded it a prestigious prize. In the end, it was one of the most popular entries in the entire history of the competition. So much so that it became the longest-ever-winning film in the annual awards, scoring a remarkable 15 wins out of 16 entries.

Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Immigrant’ Gets An Honorary Palme d’Or

Another French film that deserves to be mentioned among the greats is Charlie Chaplin’s 1927 silent classic The Immigrant, which has an honorary Palme d’Or hanging from the wall at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The award is presented in memory of Jean Renoir, who died in 1979, and recognizes the film for its “contributions to cinema and for continuing to spark interest in French culture.”

The film, which made Chaplin a star, follows the travails of a tramp in Paris who is trying to make a living while struggling with homelessness. In terms of the awards it has won, The Immigrant has picked up a number of accolades, including the coveted Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival in 1927. In 1958 the Academy awarded it the then-most-prestigious prize, the Best Foreign Language Film, as well as Best Actor for Richard Briers and Best Film. More recently, it picked up a Special Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005 and was voted one of the top 100 greatest films of all time by the American Film Institute in 2002.

Waldo Rojo’s Experimental Film Arouses Critical Acclaim

Another remarkable French film that deserves to be mentioned among the greats is the work of filmmaker Waldo Rojo. In 1922 he founded the Ciné-Club Français (CFN) in Paris, with the aim of screening important films from around the world—regardless of whether they were deemed “artistic” or not by French critics. Although the CFN has since closed, Rojo’s groundbreaking experiment has ensured that films considered too “experimental” by French critics in the early decades of the century are now among the most important and influential films ever made. This is evident from the many accolades the films have won over the years.

An example of this are the three films that Rojo directed for CFN in 1928, all of which were shown at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. His first film, Tänjärven miehet (The Three Musketeers), was hailed for its innovative use of color and photography and took home the Special Jury Prize. Mediterranea, Rojo’s second film at the festival, was also met with critical acclaim and won the coveted Pas d’Or as a “masterpiece of the genre of neorealism.” Lastly, his most recent film, Pardonner ce crime (To Give a Woman a Chance), premiered at the festival as well and was awarded the Jury Prize for Best Film that year. These were the first films to win the top prize at the festival, which was renamed the Golden Lion in memory of Rojo, who died in 1991.

The French have a special affection for Rojo and his work. In 2008, the French government honored him with the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, the highest distinction that a French citizen can receive. Earlier this year, the French cinematography community honored him with a stamp issued by the French Postal Service.

Georges Méliès’ One-of-a-Kind Animated Fairy Tale Wins The Love Of The Whole Nation

France’s most beloved film director, Georges Méliès, is best known for creating some of the most memorable animated characters of all time. His collection of short films, featuring fantastical creatures, is considered among the greatest animation collections of all time. His 1900 film, The Impossible Voyage, is an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s 1842 novella, ‘The Government Inspector,’ and was the first of its kind to ever be adapted for the big screen. The film, which won the Grand Prix at the Paris Film Festival, follows Inspector General Drouot’s (played by Méliès) quest to prove that a young woman’s handwriting is authentic.

It’s hard to believe that film historians have overlooked how important these films are, given their groundbreaking techniques and imaginative stories. Many of them had great influences on later filmmakers, not just in France but around the world. It’s only right that they are recognized for their contributions as much as the more famous cinema greats.