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by Nigel M Smith
May 15, 2013 11:47 AM
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Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg Admits to Not Being Familiar With All Directors Up for Palme d'Or

Steven Spielberg at Cannes jury press conference Eric Kohn
This year's Cannes jury president, Steven Spielberg, used the admittedly pointless "meet the jury" press conference to make one thing clear. "I didn't say no a thousand times," he said after being asked why he finally accepted the invitation. "I've been so consistently at work in the spring time that every time I've been asked, I've been busy working."

With Spielberg heading the 2013 jury, it's no big surprise that this year's members are among one of the most esteemed and eclectic to ever grace La Croisette, with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Ang Lee (whom Spielberg confessed to worshiping) brushing shoulders with Indian star Vidya Balan and Romanian Palme d'Or winner Cristian Mungiu. The entire group, also comprised of Lynne Ramsay, Naomi Kawase, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Auteuil, all took part in the conference, but, as expected, Spielberg was the center of attention.

"I see this as two weeks of celebrating film, not two weeks of putting films against one another."
The Oscar-winning filmmaker, who revealed that the jury had dined the night before in Cannes to talk film and get properly acquainted, said that he doesn't see other filmmakers' work as competition to his own, but that has no qualms about presiding over the jury.

"I think that we're always judging and we're always reserving private judgment of movies," he said. "I've always just accepted that there's always great competition for audiences' attention. There are certain films that compete for a selective kind of audience. That doesn't really allow me to compare these apples to these oranges. I don't see films as competition, I see them as ways to brag and boast about other countries' work. I see this as two weeks of celebrating film, not two weeks of putting films against one another."

When asked by a Dutch journalist if he was familiar with the work of Alex Van Warmerdam, the first Dutch filmmaker to be up for the Palme d'Or in 38 years (he's here with "Borgman"), Spielberg casually said, "No. We'll become aware of the maker if the film causes us to be made aware of the maker."

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4 Comments

  • crazyxcrazy | May 15, 2013 1:54 PMReply

    Last 20 years

    Cannes 2011: Robert De Niro Winner: American Film
    Cannes 2004: Quentin Tarantino Winner: American Film
    Cannes 1994: Clint Eastwood Winner: American Film

    Lets not talk about the scandal of Tarantino ridiculously giving Sofia Coppola the Golden Lion at Venice for the awful Somewhere

    Americans favor americans, not everytime but it happens alot.

  • Jimi | May 26, 2013 2:47 PM

    Well, not this year, apparently!

  • crazyxcrazy | May 15, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    An American jury president again.

    Which American film is winning this year then?

    I'll guess at Inside Llewyn Davis

  • michael | May 15, 2013 1:02 PM

    The Cannes international film jury is composed of a variety of affluent film professionals from various nationalities, backgrounds, and cultures. Your presumptive stupidity obviously demonstrates your lack of cinematic appreciation or understanding of these commemorations. And lastly prior to "Tree of life" winning in 2011, an American feature hadn't won the coveted Palme in six years, and before that since 94' for "Pulp Fiction".

    Please troll elsewhere, your not that clever.