Mauritania’s Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako (Timbuktu) has been named President of this year’s Cannes Cinefondation and Short Films Jury. Sissako, whose powerful Timbuktu assailed the dangers of Islamic extremism, is nominated in this year’s Best Foreign Language film category. He follows in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese, Jane Campion, Michel Gondry and Abbas Kiarostami, all of whom have also served in the same capacity at Cannes.
Sissako has a long history with the festival, which celebrates its 68th edition this year (May 13-24). The Game, directed by Sissako during his final year at film school, was presented at Cannes Critics’ Week in 1991, followed two years later by the medium-length Octobre, at Un Certain Regard.
Life On Earth and Waiting For Happiness, were both featured in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 1998 and Un Certain Regard in 2002. Bamako, a political parable, was presented Out of Competition in 2006, and was followed by the critically-acclaimed Timbuktu in Competition in 2014 last year. Timbuktu‘s Oscar nom is a first for Sissako’s native Mauritania.
The president of the Cinéfondation and Short Films jury and the four figures from the arts world accompanying him will award three prizes to films submitted by film schools to the Cinéfondation Selection, as well as the Short Film Palme d’Or – to be presented during the festival’s closing ceremony on May 24.