Nearly one year after Oscar juggernaut The Shape of Water took the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, its director will preside over the jury at the annual event’s upcoming 75th edition.

The Venice Film Festival announced Monday that filmmaker Guillermo del Toro will front a prestigious group of nine international cinema figures who will bestow awards upon films competing among the 2018 festival’s main slate.

“To serve as president in Venice is an immense honor and responsibility that I accept with respect and gratitude,” del Toro said in a statement. “Venice is a window to world cinema and the opportunity to celebrate its power and cultural relevance.”

In addition to The Shape of Water, which received 13 Oscar nominations in January, del Toro’s celebrated filmography of fantastical pictures also includes The Devil’s Backbone, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim, and Crimson Peak.

“Guillermo del Toro personifies generosity, a love for movies past or future, and a passion for the kind of cinema that can spark emotions, affect people and, at the same time, make them reflect. By virtue of his lively imagination, uncommon sensitivity and his trust in the power of images, he has brought to life a fantastic universe in which love and fear can coexist, and to treasure diversity is a fundamental value,” festival director Alberto Barbera said of del Toro, also via press statement. “We are pleased and honored that he has agreed to preside over the Jury of the 75th Venice Film Festival, after having illuminated the previous edition with the dazzling beauty of The Shape of Water. He will be a genial, inquisitive and enthusiastic President.”

Last year’s Venice jury president, Annette Bening, was the first woman to head the collective in roughly a decade. Under her, the jury presented del Toro with Venice’s Golden Lion at the tail end of a competition that also premiered Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ahead of its fruitful awards season run. The 2016 iteration screened films like La La Land, Arrival, Jackie, and Nocturnal Animals — all of which would go on to either win or be nominated for Academy Awards.

The 2018 Venice Film Festival runs Aug. 29-Sept. 8, 2018.

The Shape of Water
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