Costa-Gavras heads Berlin festival jury


COLOGNE, Germany -- Constantin Costa-Gavras, one of the world's most prominent political directors, has been named jury president for the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, arguably the most political of the big film fests.

Costa-Gavras made his mark with such politically charged thrillers as "Z" (1969) and "Missing" (1982).

The Greek-French director has won virtually every major film prize, including the Festival de Cannes' Palme d'Or and a screenplay Oscar for "Missing" and Berlin's Golden Bear for 1990's "Music Box," the story of a lawyer who defends her father when he is charged with war crimes.

"I am very pleased that we have been able to win over such a great director as Costa-Gavras as jury president," Berlin festival director Dieter Kosslick said. "His work is both social critique and high art."

The Berlin festival is proud of its political, left-of-center credentials. Recent Golden and Silver Bear winners include Jasmila Zbanic's "Grbavica," about the aftermath of the Balkan War; Michael Winterbottom's "The Road to Guantanamo"; and "Bloody Sunday," Paul Greengrass' documentary style movie about the British military massacre of Irish civil rights protesters in 1972.

In addition to "Music Box," Costa-Gavras films "The Little Apocalypse" (1993) and "Amen" (2002) were in competition at Berlin.

As head of the international jury, Costa-Gavras will be responsible for handing out the prized bears at the 2008 festival, which runs Feb. 7-17.

After concluding his jury duty, Costa-Gavras will head to Greece to commence shooting on his new film, "Eden Is West."