In a fitting follow-up, last year’s Golden Lion winner Guillermo del Toro has been set as the President of this year’s Venice Film Festival competition jury. Del Toro took the award in 2017 (dubbing the statue “Sergio Leone”) with The Shape Of Water, his now multi prize-winning lyrical fairy tale that made the Lido swoon. The filmmaker this year will lead a Venice panel that hands out the next Golden Lion.
Upon accepting the proposal, del Toro said, “To serve as president in Venice is an immense honor and responsibility that I accept with respect and gratitude. Venice is a window to world cinema and the opportunity to celebrate its power and cultural relevance.”
Del Toro was on the Cannes Film Festival jury in 2015, the same year his pal Alfonso Cuaron chaired the main Venice panel. That was a few years after Cuaron’s Gravity had blown the doors off the Lido’s Sala Darsena. In the past several years, Venice has increasingly proved itself as perhaps the most important launch pad for awards season movies.
Del Toro participated in the Venice Film Festival for the first time in 1997 with Mimic, in the Mezzanotte section. In 2006, he was a member of the Jury for the Luigi de Laurentiis Venice Award for a Debut Film at the 63rd running.
Festival Director Alberto Barbera commented today, “Guillermo Del Toro personifies generosity, a love for movies past or future, and a passion for the kind of cinema that can spark emotions, affect people and, at the same time, make them reflect. By virtue of his lively imagination, uncommon sensitivity and his trust in the power of images, he has brought to life a fantastic universe in which love and fear can coexist, and to treasure diversity is a fundamental value. We are pleased and honored that he has agreed to preside over the Jury of the 75th Venice Film Festival, after having illuminated the previous edition with the dazzling beauty of The Shape Of Water. He will be a genial, inquisitive and enthusiastic President.”
Among the prizes Shape Of Water has collected since its Venice debut are the Golden Globe for Best Director, Critics’ Choice nods for Best Film and Best Director, the PGA award for Best Film and the DGA prize for Best Director. Heading into next weekend’s BAFTAs, the movie has 14 nominations; and follows that with 13 Oscar nominations on March 4.
Venice runs this year from August 29-September 8.