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Denis to head Certain Regard jury, Directors' Fortnight to honor Varda

PARIS — With the Cannes Film Festival due to announce its official selection on Thursday, news is ramping up about associated events.

On Wednesday, the fest announced that French helmer-scribe Claire Denis will head Un Certain Regard jury while veteran Gallic helmer Agnes Varda will receive the Directors’ Fortnight’s 8th Carosse d’Or award for lifetime achievement.

Denis has made 20 films since her directorial debut in 1988 with “Chocolat,” which was set in Africa, where she was brought up.

It played at Cannes and earned a nomination at the Gallic film awards, the Cesars, the following year.

She later returned to the French Riviera with Un Certain Regard player “J’ai pas sommeil.”

Denis’ latest pic, Isabelle Huppert starrer “White Material,” a politically-charged drama set in Africa, was nommed for a Golden Lion at last year’s Venice fest.

Un Certain Regard highlights promising films from lesser known helmers and experimental fare.

Meanwhile, Carosse d’Or recipient Varda, 81, has directed more than 20 features, shorts and documentaries, from 1962 Cannes competition entry “Cleo from 5 to 7” to 2008 documentary “The Beaches of Agnes,” released in the U.S. by arthouse distributor Cinema Guild.

Awards ceremony will take place on May 13 at Cannes, and will be followed by a showing of Varda’s seldom seen 1969 feature, “Lions Love…and Lies.”

Previous award winners include Nanni Moretti, Jim Jarmusch and David Cronenberg.

The 63rd Cannes Film Festival will run May 12-23.

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