Tunisian director on Venice jury duty

Abdellatif Kechiche won three prizes at the fest last year

ROME -- Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche will head the five-person jury that will award the Luigi De Laurentiis prize for best debut film at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, officials said Tuesday.

Kechiche -- who won three secondary prizes for "Le Graine et le mullet" (Couscous) at Venice last year and who won the De Laurentiis prize in 2000 for "La Faute a Voltaire" (Blame it on Voltaire) -- will award the prize that includes $100,000 in cash, a $62,500 credit from Kodak and a Golden Lion of the Future statuette.

The winner will be selected from all the debut films screening in the main competition and sidebars at the Aug. 27-Sept. 6 event.

Other jury members include Brazilian actress Alice Braga, director-producer Gregory Jacobs, scriptwriter Heidrun Schleef and producer Donald Ranvaud.

Recent winners of the prize include "La zona" by Rodrigo Pla, which took home the award last year, and Peter Brozens' and Jessica Woodworth's "Khadak," which was honored in 2006.