Venice Film Festival Jury Adds Zhang Ziyi, James Gray

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The International Jury for this year’s Venice International Film Festival has been finalized after the previous confirmation of French actress Isabelle Huppert as its chair.

Now, American director and screenwriter James Gray, British director and screenwriter Andrew Haigh, Polish director, screenwriter, and producer Agnieszka Holland, and Brazilian director-screenwriter Kleber Mendonça Filho are the latest additions to the jury. They will join Mauritanian director, screenwriter and producer Abderrahmane Sissako, Italian director-screenwriter Giuseppe Tornatore, German director-screenwriter Julia von Heinz and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi.

The prestigious Golden Lion for best film and other awards will be revealed during the festival’s closing ceremony on Sept. 7.

Gray made his directorial debut in 1994 with Little Odessa, which received the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. His other projects include The Yards (2000), starring Joaquin Phoenix, Two Lovers (2008) and The Immigrant (2013). The Lost City of Z had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival in 2016. Gray’s following film, Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt, screened in competition at Venice in 2019.

Britain’s Haigh saw success with his critically acclaimed All of Us Strangers (2023) starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal. His previous feature films include A24’s Lean on Pete, in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2017, IFC’s Sundance Selects’ 45 Years (2015), and breakout hit, Weekend (2011).

Holland won Cannes’ International Critics Prize with Provincial Actors (1978). She received an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film for Angry Harvest in 1985. She then directed To Kill a Priest (1988) and EuropaEuropa (1990), for which she won a Golden Globe and earned her second Oscar nomination for best screenplay. In 2011 she directed In Darkness, earning a third Academy Award nomination. Her film Spoor won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 2016. Holland directed episodes of the lauded series The WireThe Killing, Cold Case and Treme.

Filho’s Neighbouring Sounds premiered in Rotterdam in 2012 and Brazil selected it as its entry for an Oscar. In 2016, Aquarius, starring Sonia Braga, was in competition at Cannes. The film was nominated for a César and an Independent Spirit Award. In 2019, Bacurau, co-directed and co-written with Juliano Dornelles, won the Jury Prize at Cannes. Pictures of Ghosts, his most recent work, premiered in Cannes in 2023.

Sissako directed in Mauritania the film Waiting for Happiness in 2002, presented at Cannes and winner of the FIPRESCI Prize. He returned to Cannes in 2006 with Bamako and again in 2014, in competition, with Timbuktu. The first Mauritanian film to be nominated for an Oscar, Timbuktu won seven César awards.

Tornatore made his debut in 1985 as a filmmaker with Il Camorrista. In 1989, he won an Oscar for best foreign language film with Cinema Paradiso. His more recent projects include A Pure Formality to Malena, The Star Maker, The Unknown Woman, and Everybody’s Fine.

Von Heinz won the German Film Award for Best Children’s and Youth Film with her debut Nothing Else Matters in 2007. Her film And Tomorrow the Entire World was in competition at Venice in 2020 and represented Germany for the Oscars. Her controversial TV series Eldorado Kadewe won numerous awards and was acquired by the BBC. Her latest film, Treasure, premiered at Berlinale and Tribeca in 2024. She currently teaches directing at the University of Television and Film in Munich.

China’s Ziyi made her debut in Zhang Yimou’s The Road Home (1999). Her performance in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) brought her further acclaim. She starred in Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) by Rob Marshall, for which she earned a nomination for BAFTA and Golden Globes. She has starred in features including Zhang Yimou’s Hero (2002) and House of Flying Daggers (2004). Her directorial debut, Poem (2021), was released in China to critical acclaim. Her latest film is Peter Chan’s She’s Got No Name set to be released this fall.

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