Greta Gerwig will be 1st U.S. female director to head Cannes Film Festival jury next year

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Greta Gerwig will be president of the 77th Cannes Film Festival jury in 2024, making her the first female American director — and the youngest person since 1966 — to receive the honour.

The role is widely considered to be a marker of career achievement and excellence within the international film industry. Gerwig most recently directed Barbie, which became a pop culture phenomenon this year and hit a rare $1 billion milestone at the global box office.

As president, Gerwig will lead a jury of high-profile filmmakers and actors from around the world. The jury serves as the public face of the festival throughout its run and chooses the winner of the Palme d’Or, which is the festival’s highest prize.

“As a cinephile, Cannes has always been the pinnacle of what the universal language of movies can be,” Gerwig was quoted saying in the festival’s statement. “Being in the place of vulnerability, in a dark theatre filled with strangers, watching a brand-new film is my favourite place to be.”

The California-born director previously helmed 2019’s Little Women and 2017’s Lady Bird, the latter film earning five Academy Award nominations, including a best director nod for Gerwig.

WATCH | Greta Gerwig talks to CBC about Lady Bird: 

‘Every single person on-set counts:’ Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig

The actor-turned-filmmaker talks to CBC’s Eli Glasner about putting her own life experiences into her directorial debut.

Before her mainstream success as a director, Gerwig starred in independent films like Frances Ha, Mistress America and 20th Century Women. She made her feature directorial debut as co-director of 2008’s Nights and Weekends.

Cannes Film Festival president Iris Knobloch and general delegate Thierry Frémaux called Gerwig an “obvious choice” in a press release announcing the appointment.

“Greta Gerwig so audaciously embodies the renewal of world cinema, for which Cannes is each year both the forerunner and the sounding board,” the release said.

Others who’ve held the position include Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, New Zealand director Jane Campion, American filmmaker Spike Lee, Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai and Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, plus Hollywood figures like Robert de Niro, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

The late British-American actress Olivia de Havilland was the first U.S. woman to front the jury, in 1965.

The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious events in the global film industry, taking place each year on the French Riviera. The 2024 festival will run from May 14-25.

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