Steven Spielberg has been named Jury President for the 66th annual Festival de Cannes, running this year from May 15th to May 26th.
The announcement was made today that the Lincoln filmmaker will take over the reigns from Italian director Nanni Moretti.
The two time Oscar winning legend's relationship with the prestigious festival goes all the way back to his first theatrical film Sugarland Express, which won Best Screenplay at the 1974 Festival de Cannes. Though the key release in Spielberg's appointment as Jury President this year stems from when he was at the height of his first creative peak with the release of E.T. - the tear-jerking classic which closed the 1982 festival and was the very last Festival screening shown in the former Palais Croisette theatre. This also happened to be the Cannes debut of Thierry Fremaux, the Chief Delegate of the festival and his memory of that world premiere has led to this appointment.
Spielberg said in a press release;
My admiration for the steadfast mission of the Festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none. The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross cultural and generational medium.Gilles Jacob, President of the Festival de Cannes said;
As they say across the Atlantic, Steven Spielberg is a Cannes regular: Sugarland Express, Color Purple. But it was with E.T. that I screened as a world premiere in 82 that ties were made of the type you never forget. Ever since, Ive often asked Steven to be Jury President, but hes always been shooting a film. So when this year I was told E.T., phone home, I understood and immediately replied: At last!Thierry Fremaux, General Delegate of the Festival said;
Steven Spielberg accepted 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 hes excited about the job. Because of his films, and the many causes he holds dear, hes year-in year-out the equal of the very greatest Hollywood filmmakers. We are very proud to count him among us.You can read the whole press release HERE.
The memory of my first Cannes Film Festival, nearly 31 years ago with the debut of E.T., is still one of the most vibrant memories of my career, Spielberg goes on. 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 honor and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world.
In case you missed the announcement earlier, Jane Campion is head of this year's Cinéfondation and Short Film Jury.
Click "next" below to read our early predictions for what movies, in many ways we hope, could play at this year's Cannes Film Festival.