By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 28, 2013 at 12:49AM
Like Clint Eastwood before him, Steven Spielberg has agreed to be the president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. This year's fest takes place May 15-26. It's his first time.
“My admiration for the steadfast mission of the Festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none," Spielberg stated. "The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross cultural and generational medium.”
Last year, the head of the jury was Italian Nanni Moretti. “As they say across the Atlantic,” said Gilles Jacob, President of the Festival de Cannes, “Steven Spielberg is a Cannes ‘regular’: 'Sugarland Express,' 'The 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, 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!'"
Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the Festival, explained that 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 he’s excited about the job," said Fremaux. "Because of his films, and the many causes he holds dear, he’s year-in year-out the equal of the very greatest Hollywood filmmakers. We are very proud to count him among us.”
“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," recalled 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 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.”