Director Campion to head Cannes film jury

PARIS Tue Jan 7, 2014 9:40pm IST

Director Jane Campion (R) and cast Ben Wishaw attend a news conference for the film ''Bright Star'' at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/Files

Director Jane Campion (R) and cast Ben Wishaw attend a news conference for the film ''Bright Star'' at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Vincent Kessler/Files

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PARIS (Reuters) - Oscar-winning New Zealand director Jane Campion will head the jury for the 67th Cannes film festival in May, the festival announced on Tuesday.

Campion, who won an Oscar for best screenplay for her 1993 film "The Piano" and is the only woman ever to win the top Cannes prize, the Palme d'or, for that same film, succeeds U.S. director Steven Spielberg, who headed the jury last year.

"I am truly honoured to join with the Cannes Film Festival as president of the in-competition features for 2014," Campion said in a statement issued by the festival. "In fact I can't wait."

"Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986 I have had the opportunity to see the festival from many sides and my admiration for this queen of film festivals has only grown larger," she said.

Campion lauded Cannes' ability to celebrate the glamour of the film industry with its stars and parties while "rigorously maintaining the festival's seriousness about the art and excellence of new world cinema".

In addition to "The Piano" winning the Palme d'or in 1993, the festival that year named Holly Hunter, who played opposite Harvey Keitel in the movie, best actress.

Campion, who was born in Wellington and originally studied to be an anthropologist, started making short films in the 1980s and won the top Cannes prize for a short feature in 1986. Her first feature film was "Sweetie" (1989) followed by "An Angel at My Table" (1990) and "The Piano".

Other films include "The Portrait of a Lady" (1996) based on the Henry James novel, "Holy Smoke" (1999) and "In the Cut" (2003).

(Writing by Michael Roddy; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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