It’s been 11 years since the Venice Film Festival had a female president presiding over the jury, but it was announced today that Oscar nominated actress Annette Benning is stepping into the role for the festivals 74th edition.
Catherine Deneuve last held the position in 2006, and artistic director Alberto Barbera acknowledged the length of time since then in a released statement. “It was time to break with a long list of male presidents and invite a brilliant talented and inspiring woman to chair our international competition jury,” he said. “I am extremely happy that Annette Bening has accepted this role, which she will carry out by virtue of her stature, her intellect and the talents she has manifested over the course of her career, in Hollywood, Europe and on the stage. Hers is a career marked by always interesting, often daring choices. A sophisticated and instinctive actress, able to portray complex shadings of character, Annette Bening brings to her roles an understating, a warmth and a natural elegance that makes watching her films a wonderful and ever enriching experience. I welcome her to Venice.”
Bening follows last year’s president Sam Mendes, who directed her in the 1999 Academy Award winning film American Beauty. In a released statemnet of her own, Bening said “I’m honored to be asked to serve as the President of the jury for this year’s Venice Film Festival. I look forward to seeing the movies and working with my fellow jury members to celebrate the best of this year’s cinema from all over the world.”
The Venice Film Festival starts on August 30th, with the prizes being awarded on September 9.
Photo: 20th Century Women (Elevation Pictures)