Oscar-winning director Jane Campion will succeed Steven Spielberg as the head juror at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The New Zealand-born filmmaker – who took home the Palme d'Or, the festival's top accolade, for her 1993 movie The Piano – expressed her admiration for the event which will run from 14-25 May in the southern France resort town.
"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. "At the Cannes film festival they manage to combine and celebrate the glamour of the industry, the stars, the parties, the beaches, the business, while rigorously maintaining the festival's seriousness about the Art and excellence of new world cinema."
"We are immensely proud that Jane Campion has accepted our invitation," added Cannes director, Thierry Fremaux. "She is one of those directors who perfectly embody the idea that you can make films as an artist and yet still appeal to a worldwide public."
Campion remains the only female filmmaker to triumph in the festival's most prestigious category and her appointment has been seen as a statement in response to past criticism that the event has failed to recognise female directors.
She will succeed Spielberg onto the Croisette after the US director oversaw the 2013 festival which awarded the Palme d'Or to French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour. That same year Campion headed up the short film jury and the Cinéfondation section.
Campion – who also scored the 1993 best screenplay Oscar for The Piano – won critical acclaim last summer for her television miniseries Top of the Lake which starred Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter and Peter Mullan.