“My admiration for the steadfast mission of the festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none,” Spielberg said in a statement. “The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross cultural and generational medium.”
Spielberg has a long-standing relationship with Cannes Film Festival. His very first movie “Sugarland Express” won for best screenplay at the festival in 1974. “E.T. the Extra-Terrestial” celebrated its world premiere at Cannes in 1982, which served as the closing-night movie. “The Color Purple” was screened as a non-competition in 1986.
Gilles Jacob, the festival’s president, says he has been trying to get Spielberg to head the jury for a while now.
“But he’s always been shooting a film,” Jacob said. “So when this year I was told ‘E.T., phone home,’ I understood and immediately replied, ‘At last!’”
Cannes Film Festival will be taking place from May 15 to 26.