Docking his yacht in the French Rivieira, lead judge of the 66th Cannes Festival Steven Spielberg has headed out on the Croisette before the grand opening this Wednesday.
His choice to lead the jury has upset some as European cinema has been hit hard by the economic crisis. This year US directors make up 25 percent of the films in competition for the Palme D’Or.
Competition is rising in the east. China represents the second largest movie market.
“I think we have a lot of interesting movies this year. I’m looking forward to it,” said Tawainese-born director and jury member Ang Lee.
The Festival will open with Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s lavish adaption of the F Scott Fitzgerald classic, ‘The Great Gatsby’, which opened to 50 million dollar takings over the weekend in the US.
“I’m very happy to have ‘The Great Gatsby’ especially in this situation with the huge first box office weekend,” said Thierry Fremaux, Cannes Festival Artistic Director.
“I had dinner last night with Baz Luhrmann and he is so happy to be back and to me it means a lot. He was with ‘Moulin Rouge,’ my first opening, a little more than ten years ago and it will be a great moment with him and Nicole Kidman on the jury as well,” he continued.
Luhrmann credits Cannes for his career in film. It was where his first film was screened and quickly snapped up by a major distributor, propelling him to super stardom and towards his labour of love, ‘The Great Gatsby.’