'Parasite' Director Bong Joon Ho Named Venice Festival Jury President

Bong Joon Ho
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Best director winner Bong Joon Ho poses with his engraved awards as he attends the 92nd Oscars Governors Ball at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on Feb. 9, 2020.

The Oscar-winning South Korean filmmaker will head up the international jury for the 78th Venice Film Festival in September.

Bong Joon Ho, the Oscar-winning director of Parasite, will head up the international jury for the 2021 Venice International Film Festival.

The South Korean filmmaker, who made history last year when Parasite become the first non-English-language film to win the best picture Oscar, will oversee the seven-person jury for the 78th Venice festival, assigning this year's awards, including the Golden Lion for best film.

On the international festival circuit, Bong Joon Ho is most closely associated with Cannes, where he has premiered several of his films, including Memories of Murder (2003), The Host (2006), and Okja (2017), as well as Parasite in 2019.

"Venice International Film Festival carries with it a long and varied history, and I'm honored to be woven into its beautiful cinematic tradition," said the director. "As president of the jury— and more importantly as a perpetual cinephile — I'm ready to admire and applaud all the great films selected by the festival. I'm filled with genuine hope and excitement."

Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera called the South Korean director "one of the most authentic and original voices in worldwide cinema. We are immensely grateful to him for having agreed to put his passion as a cinephile attentive, inquisitive, and unprejudiced, at the service of our festival."

Bong's appointment marks the first time a Korean filmmaker has headed the Venice jury. Barbera said it was confirmation "that the Venetian event embraces the cinema of the entire world, and that directors from every country know they can consider Venice their second home."

Venice, the world's oldest film festival, was able to hold an in-person event last year, in-between COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe. Cate Blanchett handed out last year's Golden and Silver Lion awards in Venice as jury head, with Nomadland, Chloé Zhao's look at America's van-dwelling community, starring Frances McDormand, taking the top honor.

The 78th Venice International Film Festival is scheduled to run Sept. 1-11.

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