Michael Mann to Head Venice Film Fest Jury

7:57 AM PST 06/01/2012 by Eric J. Lyman

This year’s edition will take place Aug. 29-Sept. 8.

ROME – Hollywood director, producer, and screenwriter Michael Mann will head the main international jury at the next edition of the Venice Film Festival, event organizers announced Friday.

Mann, best known for his work with the Miami Vice television series and the subsequent film, also produced Martin Scorsese’s 2004 drama The Aviator, and co-wrote and directed Ali in 2001, Heat in 1995, and The Last of the Mohicans in 1992. As jury president, he will help decide on the winners of Venice’s main prizes, including the coveted Golden Lion award for the best film among the festival’s 18-film in-competition lineup.

The Mann-directed 2004 Collateral won the Future Film Festival Digital Award, a collateral prize handed out in Venice each year.

Usually, the jury president in Venice is an uneventful role, as it was last year when Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky headed the jury that gave Venice’s top prize to Aleksander Sokurov’s adaptation of Goethe’s tragedy Faust. But two years ago, the post was a lightening rod for attention when Quentin Tarrantino was criticized in Italy and in international film circles for handing out the festival’s main prizes to directors he had personal relationships with, including former girlfriend Sofia Coppola, whose drama Somewhere was given the Golden Lion honor.

Venice’s newly installed artistic director Alberto Barbera recommended Mann for the position, and he was approved Friday by the Venice Biennale board, headed by Biennale President Paolo Baratta.

In a statement, the festival referred to Mann as “one of the most influential and representative figures in contemporary American cinema.”

This year’s edition of the storied Venice festival, the 69th, will take place Aug. 29-Sept. 8.

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