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‘Sideways’ helmer picked for jury duty

Payne to preside over fest award

PARIS — The Cannes Film Festival has nabbed “Sideways” helmer Alexander Payne to preside over the jury of Un Certain Regard.

Move is designed to increase the visibility of the section’s 6-year-old film prize; many are unaware it even exists.

Last year’s winner was Senegalese helmer Ousmane Sembene’s female circumcision-themed “Moolaade.”

Artistic director Thierry Fremaux is said to be working on changes to the section’s lineup to give it a more distinct identity.

Although part of the official selection, Un Certain Regard has tended to be overshadowed by competition and out-of-competition films and has lacked a clear footprint.

This year it could include more offbeat, artistically freer works, said insiders, but Fremaux has not spelled out his intentions.

Until now, Un Certain Regard has been an essentially French affair, with a e30,000 ($39,000) prize awarded by a jury made up mostly of Gallic film critics going to the winning film’s Gallic distrib.

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