New-Zealand screenwriter and director Jane Campion will head the jury of the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious French movie festival, in May 2014. Steven Spielberg presided over the jury in 2013.

Campion is unique in the history of cinema.

Not only is she the only woman to have ever been awarded the Palme d’Or, one of the highest honors in the film industry, but she also won it twice. Her career was launched in 1986, when she obtained the award for a short film titled Peel. In 1993, her work was celebrated again for The Piano, a movie which also won three Oscars – best original screenplay, best supporting role and best actress for Holly Hunter.

Her other films include Sweetie (1989), Portait of a lady with Nicole Kidman (1996), Holy Smoke with Kate Winslet (1999) and Bright Star (2009).

Campion reacted: “ [The Cannes Film Festival] 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!” “Since I first went to Cannes with my short films in 1986,” she added in a statement, “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 glamor 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.”

She is also the first female director to have been nominated to preside over the jury. Before her, actresses such as Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, or Isabelle Huppert had been appointed.

The Cannes Film Festival has often put forward the quality of Israeli cinema. In 2013, two Israeli movies were showcased and praised during the festival. Among others, Ari Folman, director of world-acclaimed Waltz with Bashir, presented his latest film, The Congress. Israeli actor Moni Monoshov also starred in A Strange Course of Events, a movie directed by Raphael Nadjari. In 2012, the festival had also awarded the Gaul’s Society of Authors, Directors and Composers award to Meni Yaesh’s first feature film, God’s neighbors.

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