Steven Spielberg to head Cannes film festival jury
The American filmmaker is taking over the reins from the Italian Nanni Moretti to head the 66th edition of the festival which runs from May 15 to 26.
The Oscar-winning director recalled the screening of "ET", his extra-terrestrial drama, nearly 31 years ago at Cannes as "one of the most vibrant memories" of his career.
"For over six decades, Cannes has served as a platform for extraordinary films to be discovered and introduced to the world for the first time. It is an honour and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world," Spielberg said in a statement.
Gilles Jacob, the President of the Festival de Cannes said that the 66-year-old director is a Cannes 'regular' as several of his films including "Sugarland Express" and "The Color Purple" screened at the festival.
"Sugarland Express", the first film that Spielberg made was selected for the Festival de Cannes in 1974 and won Best Screenplay award. "ET" was the closing film at the festival in 1982.
"... it was with ET that I screened as a world premiere in '82 that ties were made of the type you never forget. Ever since, I've often asked Steven to be Jury President, but he's always been shooting a film. So when this year I was told 'ET, phone home', I understood and immediately replied: 'At last!', Jacob said in a statement.
Thierry Fremaux, General Delegate of the Festival, said Spielberg had accepted to head the festival jury in principle two years ago.
"He was able to make himself available this year to be the new jury president and when meeting him these last few weeks it has been obvious he’s excited about the job," Fremaux said.
In his 40-year career, Spielberg has made 27 films that include commercial hits like "Jaws", "Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Jurassic Park" and socially relevant movies like "The Color Purple", "Schindler's List", "Saving Private Ryan" and recently released "Lincoln".
"Lincoln", a captivating drama revolving around President Abraham Lincoln's attempts to abolish slavery months prior to his assassination, saw Daniel Day-Lewis winning the Best Actor Oscar, his third trophy, this year.