The Cannes Film Festival has been very good to director Naomi Kawase in the past, and now the filmmaker is returning to the place where her ambitious career really first started. The festival announced today that Kawase, who became the youngest winner of the Camera d'or for her feature "Suzaku" back in 1997 and followed that up with a Grand Prix award ten years later for "The Mourning Forest," will serve as the president of both the festival's forward-looking Cinefondation section and its Short Film Jury. She previously served on the Feature Film Jury in 2013.
Of the news, Kawase said, "Films enrich people’s lives, and their worlds inspire new possibilities. It is a little over 100 years since the advent of films, and their potential is ever expanding. They are exceptional media that can embody the diversity of world cultures, and their stories are like another life that enchants the audiences who see them. Short films are exceptionally difficult, facing the question of how much of a story can be experienced in their short duration, while they also contain myriad possibilities yet unseen. And among films created by students there will be the discovery of hidden brilliance like a gemstone, which makes me very much look forward to participating in this jury, a journey of adventure."
Kawase's dedication to film festivals extends beyond Cannes, and in 2010, she helped found the International Nara Nara Festival, which is dedicated to promoting the work of young directors.
Kawase's films have frequently played at Cannes, including "Suzaku" and "The Mourning Forest," along with "Shara," "Hanezu" and "Still the Water."
The Cannes Film Festival will take place from May 11-22, in Cannes, France.
Kawase's newest film, "Sweet Bean," which showed in Cannes last year, is opening this week in New York at Lincoln Plaza, followed by a limited rollout, including Los Angeles on April 8.