British director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Skyfall, Spectre) will be the president of the International Jury of the Competition at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (August 31 – September 10, 2016), which will assign the Golden Lion for best film, as well as other official awards. The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, on the recommendation of the Festival’s Director, Alberto Barbera.
Right from his 1988 debut as a theatrical director, Sam Mendes (photo © Rankin) made a name for himself as one of the outstanding figures in British theatre, winning numerous awards. He later also established himself as one of the most highly respected film directors of recent years. His debut behind the movie camera was dazzling: in 2000, American Beauty won five Oscars, including best director and best picture. He next directed Road to Perdition, which competed at the 2002 Venice Film Festival. Since then, Sam Mendes has been a regular on London’s stages and on the sets of Hollywood films, all the way up to the extraordinary success of the 23rd James Bond movie, Skyfall, confirmed by the next in the series,Spectre, also directed by Mendes.
Says Festival Director Alberto Barbera, “Sam Mendes’ work is a particularly effective and convincing synthesis of a vocation for distinctive theatre and cinema, combined with research into methods of communication with increasingly large numbers of spectators. His productions, whether destined for stage or screen, are able to reconcile the expectations of the most exacting critics with the tastes of a vast audience which seems to transcend all geographical and cultural boundaries.”
Says Sam Mendes, “I’m very honoured to have been asked by Alberto to lead the International Jury for Venezia 73. I’ve always had a strong personal connection with Venice; as a student I worked for three months at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection way back in 1984, and my happiest film festival memory is launching Road To Perdition at Venice in 2002. I am thoroughly delighted to be coming back to the Lido this year and welcoming a wealth of international filmmaking talent.”