‘Happening’ Director Audrey Diwan Tapped as President of Cannes Critics Week Jury

The pioneering female filmmaker selected to helm the jury of this year’s Critics’ Week at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival is blazing a trail for women in international cinema(according to variety). Hot on the heels of snagging the top prize at Venice last year, the coveted Golden Lion, for her searing abortion drama “Happening,” this former journalist turned director has been tapped as jury president of Critics’ Week. She is only the second woman in over three decades to ascend to the apex of the Venice awards, following in the monumental footsteps of the legendary Agnès Varda, the acclaimed French New Wave pioneer. 

Flanked by an impressive jury comprising luminaries from around the globe, including a master Italian cinematographer known for his mesmerizing collaborations with Michelangelo Antonioni, an acclaimed German thespian and renowned choreographer, a noted Indian cinema savant and producer, and the influential programming director of the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in the United States, this pioneering French filmmaker is poised to bestow the coveted Critics’ Week awards. The sidebar event runs parallel to the main competition at the Venice film festival and spotlights first and second features from emerging directors around the world.

Critics’ Week showered effusive praise on their jury president, crowning her as part of the “vanguard of female filmmakers revolutionizing world cinema through their formal daring and defiance of conventions.” Under her discerning stewardship, the jury of this parallel section will present honors for best feature film, the French Touch Prize, Rising Star awards for best actor and actress in a debut film, and best short film across a range of genres. 

Last year, the Critics’ Week Grand Prize was awarded to Andrés Ramírez Pulido’s “La Jauría,” a tense thriller from Colombia, while Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells received the French Touch Prize for her poignant debut film “Aftersun,” which also earned lead actor Paul Mescal his maiden Oscar nod. The Rising Star awards went to Zelda Samson for her role in “Love According to Dalva,” a drama from Belgium, and the prize for best short was given to “Ice Merchants” by Portuguese filmmaker João Gonzalez.