Cate Blanchett to Head Jury at Venice Film Festival

Cate Blanchett to Head Jury at Venice Film Festival
Courtesy of Steven Chee

Cate Blanchett will preside over the main competition jury at the Venice Film Festival in September, marking the third woman in four years to hold that role at the fest which in recent years has come under fire for scarce representation of female filmmakers.

Last year’s Venice jury president was Lucrecia Martel, while Annette Bening presided over the Venice jury in 2017.

Festival director Alberto Barbera commented: “Cate Blanchett is not just an icon of contemporary cinema, courted by the greatest directors of the past 20 years and adored by moviegoers of every kind. Her commitment in the artistic and humanitarian fields and to the protection of the environment, as well as her defense of the emancipation of women in a film industry still coming to terms with male prejudice, have made her an inspiration for society as a whole. Her immense talent as an actress, combined with her unique intelligence and sincere passion for cinema, are the ideal qualities for a jury president.”

Blanchett said: “Every year I look expectantly to the selection at Venice, and every year it is surprising and distinct. Venice is one of the most atmospheric film festivals in the world – a celebration of the provocative and inspirational medium that is cinema in all its forms. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be this year’s jury president.”

Blanchett previously served as jury president of the 71st Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

She won Oscars for “The Aviator” (2004) and “Blue Jasmine” (2013), and was nominated for “Elizabeth” (1998), “Notes on a Scandal” (2006), “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007), “I’m Not There” (2007), and “Carol” (2015).

She is co-founder and president, in partnership with Andrew Upton, of production company Dirty Films, which has produced such films as “Carol,” “Truth,” and “Little Fish,” and will executive produce both the highly anticipated limited series for FX “Mrs. America,” as well as the six-episode drama series about Australia’s immigration system for the Australian Broadcast Company, “Stateless.”

Venice’s rather early announcement of its jury president comes as the board of its parent organization, the Venice Biennale, is in the process of either receiving an extended mandate or being renewed. This bureaucratic limbo may have prompted the announcement’s timing.

Barbera’s mandate formally expires after this year’s edition but it is possible that it also will be extended.

The 77th edition of Venice will run Sept. 2-12.