Greta Gerwig will make history at the next Cannes Film Festival. On Thursday, the festival announced that the Barbie director will lead the jury next year, making her the first American woman to become the jury president.
“As a cinephile, Cannes has always been the pinnacle of what the universal language of movies can be,” Gerwig said in a statement. “Being in the place of vulnerability, in a dark theatre filled with strangers, watching a brand-new film is my favorite place to be.”
The distinction honors her as the second-youngest person to ever lead the jury after Sophia Loren, who served as the jury’s leader in 1966 when she was 31. The first woman director to lead the selection of the Palme d’Or was Olivia de Havilland in 1965.
“A heroine of our modern times, Greta Gerwig shakes up the status quo between a highly codified cinema industry and an era that is demanding greater scrutiny,” Cannes said in its announcement.
“This is an obvious choice since Greta Gerwig so audaciously embodies the renewal of world cinema, for which Cannes is each year both the forerunner and the sounding board,” added Cannes Festival President Iris Knobloch.
Gerwig had a tremendous 2023 thanks to the success of Barbie this year. She’s also written and directed two Academy Award-nominated films in recent years, Lady Bird and Little Women. “I love [being a director] so much. I love every part of making a movie, soup to nuts,” she told Rolling Stone over the summer.
2023’s Cannes Film Festival lead was Triangle of Sadness director Ruben Östlund. Next year’s iteration will mark its 77th anniversary and is set to run from May 14 through May 25.