Cannes: Naomi Kawase to Head Short and Student Film Juries

Naomi Kawase - H

Naomi Kawase - H

Last year, 'Timbuktu' director Abderrahmane Sissako served as president of the jury, which oversees both categories.

Cannes Grand Prize and Camera d’Or winner Naomi Kawase will oversee the student and short film juries of the French film festival this year, organizers announced Tuesday.

The Japanese director is a Cannes regular and has had several of her films in competition, including Shara (Sharasojyu) in 2003, The Mourning Forest (Mogari no Mori) in 2007, Hanezu (Hanezu no tsukiin 2011 and Still the Water (Futatsume no mado) in 2014.

She also was the youngest winner of the Camera d’Or prize in 1997 for her film Suzaku (Moe no Suzaku) and won the Grand Prize in 2007 with The Mourning Forest.

The Japanese director was a member of Steven Spielberg’s jury in 2013.

“Films enrich people’s lives, and their worlds inspire new possibilities,” she said in a statement. “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,” she added.

Kawase follows Oscar-nominated Timbuktu director Abderrahmane Sissako as head of the juries.

The Cinefondation selects 15 to 20 student films each year for its competition. The section was launched in 2000 by past president Gilles Jacob.

Laszlo Nemes, whose Son of Saul won a Golden Globe and a best foreign-language film Oscar, and Amat Escalante, whose Heli earned him the best director prize at Cannes in 2013, are past recipients of the prize.

Directors Jane Campion, Michel Gondry, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Martin Scorsese also have served as presidents of the Cinefondation and short films juries in Cannes.