Belfast Telegraph

Annette Bening is first woman to head up Venice Film Festival jury in eleven years

Annette Bening follows in the footsteps of French actress Catherine Deneuve to become President of the Jury.

Annette Bening is "honoured' to be the first actress since Catherine Deneuve in 2006 to head up the 74th Venice Film Festival (17).

The American actress, who won a BAFTA for her role in 1999 movie American Beauty, has been signed up to lead the jury for the 74th Venice Film Festival.

This will end an 11-year run of male jury chiefs, with the last female president of the jury being Catherine Deneuve in 2006. Prior to that, there has only been four other women heading up the jury; Chinese actress Gong Li in 2002; Australian director Jane Campion in 1997; Italian screenwriter Suso Cecchi d’Amico in 1980 and French actress and director Sabine Azéma in 1987.

The 59-year-old actress shared her delight at the appointment in a statement to publication Variety.

“I’m honoured to be asked to serve as the President of the jury for this year’s Venice Film Festival," she gushed. "I look forward to seeing the movies and working with my fellow jury members to celebrate the best of this year’s cinema from all over the world.”

Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera explained it was the perfect moment to have a talented and inspiring woman take the top spot.

“It was time to break with a long list of male presidents and invite a brilliant talented and inspiring woman to chair our international competition jury,” he explained to the publication.

“I am extremely happy that Annette Bening has accepted this role, which she will carry out by virtue of her stature, her intellect and the talents she has manifested over the course of her career, in Hollywood, Europe and on the stage," he added.

The film festival has showcased movies that have gone on to win Oscars including Gravity, Birdman, Spotlight and La La Land.

The 74th Venice Film Festival runs from 30 August to 9 September and the full line-up of movies will be announced 27 July.

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