Barbie director Greta Gerwig was named the jury president of next year’s 77th Cannes Film Festival, making her the first female American director to receive the privilege.
She’s taking the reins from Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund, known for his recent film, The Triangle of Sadness, and a two-time Palm d’Or winner.
40-year-old Gerwig is also the youngest president since 1966 when Sophia Loren presided over the jury when she was 31. She’s also the first woman on the jury since actor Cate Blanchett assumed the role in 2018.
Gerwig said in a statement that she was “stunned and thrilled and humbled” to be chosen. The film festival’s president Iris Knobloch and festival delegate Thierry Fremaux say she “is an obvious choice since Greta Gerwig so audaciously embodies the renewal of world cinema.”
Barbie is the highest-grossing film directed by a woman in film history. If that’s not enough, it has also gathered nine nominations for Hollywood’s Golden Globe awards.
Gerwig has also directed Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019), where the latter film earned five Academy Award nominations, including a best director nod. Her latest project is a Netflix adaptation of “Chronicles of Narnia,” set for release in 2025.
“I love films—I love making them, I love going to them, I love talking about them,” Gerwig said in the festival’s statement.
“As a cinephile, Cannes has always been the pinnacle of what the universal language of movies can be.”
Before she ventured on directing films, Gerwig starred in several independent movies, like Frances Ha, 20th Century Women, and Mistress America, making her the “representative of an era that is breaking down barriers and mixing genres, thereby elevating the values of intelligence and humanism,” as per Knobloch and Fremaux.
The Cannes Film Festival is one of the most prestigious events in the film industry, that’s annually held on the French Riviera. Next year’s event will run from May 14-25, 2024.