The American director, screenwriter and producer Michael Mann – a total filmmaker and one of the most influential and representative figures in contemporary American cinema – has been designated to chair the International Jury for the Competition at the 69th Venice International Film Festival (29 August – 8 September 2012), which will award the Golden Lion and other official prizes.
The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Venice Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta, upon the recommendation of the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera.
As a producer, Michael Mann won recognition as the creative force behind some of the most successful series in television (Miami Vice, Crime Story), which contributed to creating new standards of quality borrowed from filmmaking. As a screenwriter and especially as a director, he developed his own very personal style in thematic and formal elaborations drawn prevalently from the American urban experience (Manhunter, Heat, Insider, Ali, Collateral, Public Enemies), becoming established as one of the greatest innovators working in American cinema. This is the first time that Michael Mann will be chairing the Jury of an international festival.
After writing, producing and directing a number of television series and writing and directing the TV movie Jericho Mile (1979), Michael Mann (Chicago, 1943) made his debut as a film director with Thief (1981), followed by his huge success as the executive producer of Miami Vice (1984). This television series became the aesthetic and sociological manifesto of the Eighties. His glittering, post-modern style, detailed in its aesthetics and precise in the definition of the physical spaces, use of music, psychology and emotions, reveals its full complexity in Manhunter (1986), from a novel by Thomas Harris, the film that would introduce the character of Hannibal Lecter, the psychologist-cannibal, to the big screen. The epic and intimate The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and the large canvas of Heat (1995), in which Al Pacino and Robert De Niro acted together for the first time, consecrated his talent for wielding complex stories and his versatility. Insider (1999), which immerses one within the thriller, reveals the solitary soul of his cinema, filled with stressed heroes and images that leave you dazed.
In 2001, he directed Ali, the struggle of boxer Muhammad Ali to define his identity and what he represented, starring Will Smith. Mann then directed Collateral (2004), with Tom Cruise, a film that goes back to the genre he loves best, the metropolitan thriller. The film participated Out of Competition in the 61st Venice International Film Festival. The film adaptation of his cult series Miami Vice (2006), with Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and Gong Li, was followed by Mann’s Public Enemies (2009), a biopic noir on the short life, romance and death of John Dillinger, the famous bank robber of the Thirties, starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard.
As a producer, Mann’s work includes Aviator (2004), directed by Martin Scorsese with Leonardo DiCaprio, Hancock (2008) with Will Smith, Texas Killing Fields (2011) directed by his daughter Ami Canaan Mann, in Competition at the 68th Vcnice International Film Festival, and the HBO series Luck and Witness.
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