Chapman to head Sydney jury

'Piano' producer joined by Sundance director Cooper

SYDNEY -- Veteran Australian producer Jan Chapman has been named as President of the Jury for the Sydney Film Festival’s official competition in its third year, New South Wales Arts minister Virginia Judge said Tuesday.

“The Sydney Film Prize builds on the international reputation of the festival. It’s important the Chair of the Jury has international stature and respect and the announcement of Jan Chapman could not be more fitting for this prestigious film award,” Judge said.

Chapman is arguably Australia’s most successful independent film producer with credits including “The Piano,” “Lantana,” “Somersault” and “Bright Star."

Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper will join Chapman on the jury with the remaining three jury members to be announced in the coming weeks.

Visiting Australia for the first time for the festival, Cooper said “Sundance has a long history of presenting Australian films from shorts, to docs to features and this year our World Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize went to “Animal Kingdom.” I'm hunting for new talent and I rely on Australia year after year to make us look good.”

The full festival program will be unveiled on May 5 along with the 12 films in competition by festival director Clare Stewart.

Stewart has already announced that films including Roman Polanski’s political thriller, “The Ghost Writer,” Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love” and Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger" will be part of the festival’s line-up.

The 57th edition of the Sydney Film Festival will run June 2-14.