Mary Anning biopic 'Ammonite', which was filmed partly in Lyme Regis, will be screened as part of the Cannes Film Festival later this month.

The 73rd festival was scheduled to take place in May but was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown restrictions on mass gatherings. The festival will instead be going ahead on June 22-26 with online screenings instead of the annual awards ceremony.

Ammonite will be one of the first-time screenings shown at the festival. The film stars Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet as Lyme Regis' famous fossil hunter Mary Anning and Saoirse Ronan as her fictitious love interest.

Several scenes from the film were shot in Lyme Regis in March last year. The area around Bell Cliff and Cobb Gate were transported back to the 1840s and a two-storey fake Georgian house was built outside the Seasalt shop.

Town councillor Jeff Scowen, tourism committee member, is hopeful that the film will 'put Lyme on the map' and 'do for Lyme what Broadchurch did for West Bay'.

Set in the 1840s, the film follows Mary Anning, played by Winslet, a self-taught palaeontologist, who spends her time hunting for fossils on the coastline in Lyme Regis to sell to rich tourists. When one tourist entrusts her with caring for his wife, played by Ronan, the pair embark on a love affair which defies all social bounds.

The plot has caused some controversy, with members of Mary Anning's family disapproving of the decision for the character to be portrayed as gay.

Ammonite director Francis Lee, most notable for directing God's Own Country, tweeted "After seeing queer history be routinely ‘straightened’ throughout culture, and given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context? Particularly a woman whose work and life were subjected to the worst aspects of patriarchy, class discrimination and gender imbalance.

"As a working class, queer film maker, I continually explore the themes of class, gender, sexuality within my work, treating my truthful characters with utter respect and I hope giving them authentic respectful lives."