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Wim Wenders arrives at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival
© dpa - International
German filmmaker Wim Wenders to head Venice Film Festival Jury

June 30, 2008

Critically acclaimed German film director Wim Wenders has been selected to head the jury at the 65th Venice Film Festival, on from 27th August to 6th September 2008.

The Venice festival organisers said in a statement that the 62-year-old Wenders is one of the most innovative among contemporary filmmakers and has produced some of the most influential works of the past 40 years.

Perhaps best known for his films 'Paris, Texas' and 'Buena Vista Social Club', the German director's own cinema career is closely connected to Venice. "Wim Wenders has maintained strong ties with the (Festival) over the years since his debut" in moviemaking, the festival organisers said.

Strong ties to Venice

Producer, scriptwriter, actor, editor, the author of many books and a photographer, Wenders initially started as a film critic before he turned to directing in the 1970s. He first appeared in Venice in 1972 when he showed his second full-length feature film, 'The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty Kick'. A decade later Venice awarded the filmmaker the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, for 'The State of Things'. The film is about a shoestring movie producer and his ragtag crew.

In 1972, with other German directors, he founded Filmverlag der Autoren, a production and distribution co-operative and the starting point of the New German Cinema. After the 1974 release of the first film in his road movie trilogy, 'Alice in the Cities', Wenders showed the second part, 'The Wrong Move' (1975), at the Cannes film festival. The showing and the attention at the film festival helped launch his international career.

Soon after the German director started filming in the United States, completing his movie trilogy with 'Kings of the Road' (1976) and staying on to direct 'The American Friend' (1977), an adaptation of the novel "Ripley's Game" by Patricia Highsmith.

International accolades

In 1984 Wenders won the Golden Palm in Cannes for 'Paris, Texas', and in 1987 he received the award for Best Director for his film 'Wings of Desire'. The director continued making fictional films through the 1990s, as well as the highly acclaimed documentary 'Buena Vista Social Club' (1999), a vibrant tribute to Cuban music. In 2000 his 'Million Dollar Hotel' won the Silver Bear jury prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Wenders latest film, 'Palermo Shooting' starring Dennis Hopper and Milla Jovovich, divided critics at its premiere at the Cannes film festival in May 2008.

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© Deutsche Welle, German Information Centre New Delhi
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