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Culture

Wim Wenders to Head Venice Film Jury

Critically acclaimed German film director Wim Wenders has been selected to head the jury at this year's Venice Film Festival.

Wim Wenders portrait, taken during Cannes Film Festival 2008

Wim Wenders has strong ties to the Venice Film Festival.

The Venice festival organizers 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 tightly connected to Venice.

"Wim Wenders has maintained strong ties with the (Festival) over the years since his debut" in moviemaking, the festival organizers said.

Strong ties to Venice

The veteran German director, who started as a film critic before he turned to directing in the 1970s, 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" about a shoestring movie producer and his ragtag crew.

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

Wenders with Milla Jovovich, Hopper and German singer Campino

Wim Wenders with cast members from Palermo Shooting at Cannes.

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.

Film scene from Wings of Desire with Buno Ganz and Otto Sander in a car in Berlin

The guardian angels Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander) are invisible to everyone but children.

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

This year's Venice film festival will run from August 27 to September 6.

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