France’s Cannes Film Festival says it has finally snagged Steven Spielberg to serve as president of the award jury. Gilles Jacob, the festival’s president, recounted how he had been trying to get the award-winning director to head the jury for years — but the American was always working. Finally, this year, Spielberg got in touch.
“When this year I was told ‘E.T., phone home,’ I understood and immediately replied: ‘At last!’” Jacob said in a statement posted on the festival’s website Thursday (February 28).
Spielberg, who was nominated but didn’t win the directing Oscar for his biopic Lincoln this week, takes the reins from Italian Nanni Moretti. The 66th Cannes festival takes place in the glamorous French Mediterranean resort from May 15 to 26.
“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,” Spielberg was quoted as saying in a statement by the Cannes festival organizers. “The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross cultural and generational medium.”