British film and stage director Sam Mendes, who recently gave us Spectre (2015), will head the jury of the 73rd Venice Film Festival. The festival will run August 31-September 10, 2016. The 50-year-old Skyfall director will be responsible for selecting several awards, including the Golden Lion for best film and Silver Lion for best director, reported Variety.
Mendes’ rapport with the festival dates back to 2002 when he was in the Venice competition with Tom Hanks-starrer Road to Perdition, which is the only one of his movies to launch from an international film festival.
“I am very honoured to have been asked by Alberto to lead the International Jury for Venezia 73. I’ve always had a strong personal connection with Venice; as a student I worked for three months at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection way back in 1984, and my happiest film festival memory is launching Road To Perdition at Venice in 2002,” Mendes said.
The upcoming edition of Venice will see Alberto Barbera remain in the saddle as artistic director, thanks to an extension of his mandate beyond the fest’s customary four year term.
Barbera called Mendes’ work “a particularly effective and convincing synthesis of a vocation for distinctive theatre and cinema.”
“His productions, whether destined for stage or screen, are able to reconcile the expectations of the most exacting critics with the tastes of a vast audience which seems to transcend all geographical and cultural boundaries,” he said.
In 2015, Alfonso Cuaron served as Venice jury head, two years after his film Gravity launched from the fest in 2013.