Venice Film Fest Taps Cannes Grand Prix Winner to Head Debut Jury

Courtesy of Festival de Cannes
"The Wonders"

Alice Rohrwacher's 'The Wonders' was just her second feature-length film, but it turned heads in Cannes. Now she will look to identify new rising stars.

ROME – Cannes Grand Prix-winning director Alice Rohrwacher will head the jury that will award the Venice Film Festival’s prize for the event’s best debut film, festival organizers announced Monday.

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Rohrwacher, 32, is only three years removed from her own debut feature film — coming-of-age drama Corpo Celeste, which premiered in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight competition and won her a Nastri d’Argento (Silver Ribbons) honor for best new director as well as the Ingmar Bergman international debut award.

But it was this year’s follow-up project, sister drama The Wonders (Le meraviglie), that earned her international recognition, screening in competition in Cannes and winning her the Grand Prix jury prize.

Alba Rohrwacher, the director’s older sister and one of the stars of The Wonders, is herself a Venice regular, with four films having screened in competition there, most recently Emma Dante’s directorial debut Via Castellana Bandiera. The elder Rohrwacher also was on Venice’s main competition jury in 2011.

Venice’s debut film award is named after famed Italian producer Luigi de Laurentiis

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The winning debut film is awarded a cash prize of $100,000 funded by Italian production house Filmauro, founded by the late De Laurentiis and now run by his son Aurelio De Laurentiis. Any first directorial effort from the main competition, out of competition or from the official sections is eligible to win the prize.  

The selection of Rohrwacher to head the seven-person jury is the first jury-related announcement for the 71-year-old festival, which runs Aug. 27-Sep. 6.

Twitter: @EricJLyman