NZ Director Jane Campion President of Cannes Jury 2014

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New Zealander announced to head Cannes Jury

The ground-breaking 59-year-old Kiwi film director Jane Campion broke new ground again today by being announced as the woman to head the jury of the Cannes Film Festival – two decades after becoming the first female director to win the Palme d’Or for her film “The Piano”.

The festival this year will run from the 14th to the 25th of May, according to a press communiqué released today. In the same communiqué, Campion said that it was “a great honour for me to have been chosen as president of the jury… And to tell the truth, I can’t wait.”

Campion is also the only director to ever receive the Palme d’Or twice. The first was as a virtually unknown director in 1986 for her short film “Peel” and the second was in 1993 for “The Piano”; a film for which she also won an Oscar for best original screenplay, while her leading actress Holly Hunter won the Best Actress prize at Cannes for the same film.

Cannes organisers described Campion as a “major and indefatigable pioneer film-maker”. Following in the steps of previous female jury presidents such as Isabelle Huppert, Isabelle Adjdani and Liv Ullmann, Campion herself has spoken of Cannes as magical event:

“It is this world-wide inclusiveness and passion for film at the heart of the festival which makes the importance of the Cannes Film Festival indisputable,” she says. “It is a mythical and exciting festival where amazing things can happen, actors are discovered, films are financed careers are made, I know this because that is what happened to me!”

The Wellington-born film-maker has forged a reputation based on beautiful studies of women who are marginalised or at odds with society. Characters such as Ada in The Piano, Kay in Sweetie (her first feature film that was presented in Cannes in 1989) or Jane in An Angel at my Table in 1990 epitomise this aspect of her work.

Campion added: “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. At the Cannes Film Festival they manage to combine and celebrate the glamour of the industry, the stars, the Cannes logo-parties, the beaches, the business, while rigorously maintaining the festival’s seriousness about the art and excellence of cinema.”

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