Steven Spielberg will serve as jury president of the 66th Cannes Festival this May.
It will be the first time the Schindler’s List director has acted as jury president, taking the reins from Italian director Nanni Moretti.
President of the Cannes Festival Gilles Jacob said he has always wanted to appoint Spielberg to the role, but the director’s hectic schedule meant he was too busy to accept.
“Steven Spielberg is a Cannes ‘regular’: Sugarland Express, Colour Purple. But it was with E.T that I screened a world premiere in ’82 that ties were made of the type you never forget," he said.
“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 ‘E.T phone home’, I understood and immediately replied: ‘At last!’”
Spielberg accepted the title in principle two years ago and ensured he would be available for this year’s Cannes Festival, which takes place from 15-26 May. “The memory of my first Cannes Film Frstival, nearly 31 years ago with the debut of E.T is still one of the most vibrant memories of my career,” says Spielberg.
“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’s first film for cinema Sugarland Express was selected for the Cannes Festival in 1974 and won Best Screenplay. Spielberg has won 12 Oscars in recognition of his directing work, but missed out on the best director gong this year for his biopic Lincoln.