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Guillermo Del Toro to Head Venice Film Festival Jury

ROME – Guillermo Del Toro, who won last year’s Golden Lion for “The Shape of Water,” will preside over the jury of the 75th Venice Film Festival.

“To serve as president in Venice is an immense honor and responsibility that I accept with respect and gratitude,” said the Mexican director, considered a front-runner at the upcoming Academy Awards in March. “Venice is a window to world cinema and the opportunity to celebrate its power and cultural relevance.”

“The Shape of Water,” Del Toro’s ode to the horror films of his youth, has picked up a leading 13 Oscar nominations. It had its world premiere on the Lido last year and was awarded Venice’s top prize by a jury headed by Annette Bening. Last month, Del Toro won a Golden Globe for best director.

Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera praised Del Toro as someone who “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,” Barbera said. “He will be a genial, inquisitive and enthusiastic president.”

Del Toro attended Venice more than 20 years ago, in 1997, with his first English-language feature, “Mimic,” which screened in the Midnight section dedicated to genre films. He returned to the Lido in 2006 as a member of the jury for the Luigi de Laurentiis Venice Award, which is given to a debut work screening at the fest.

The 75th Venice Film Festival runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.

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