Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes has been tapped to preside over the jury for the 73rd Venice Film Festival, it was announced today.

Mendes, who won best director for his 1999 film “American Beauty,” was chosen by the Biennale di Venezia board of directors on recommendation by Festival Director Alberto Barbera. His duties will include choosing the Golden Lion for the best film at the festival and the Silver Lion for best director, among other things.

“His productions, whether destined for stage or screen, are able to reconcile the expectations of the most exacting critics with the tastes of a vast audience which seems to transcend all geographical and cultural boundaries,” Barbera said of the decision.

“I’m very honored to have been asked by Alberto to lead the International Jury for Venezia 73,” said Mendes of the announcement. “I’ve always had a strong personal connection with Venice; as a student I worked for three months at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection way back in 1984, and my happiest film festival memory is launching Road To Perdition at Venice in 2002. I am thoroughly delighted to be coming back to the Lido this year and welcoming a wealth of international filmmaking talent.”

Mendes most recently directed “Spectre” starring Daniel Craig. His upcoming film “The Voyeur’s Motel” is based on the Gay Talese novel, which centers on a voyeur who opens a motel primarily to watch his customers have sex, but gets caught up in other criminal activities after he witnesses a murder.

The Venice Film Festival has been the festival to go to in recent years. Films such as “Gravity,” “Birdman” and “Spotlight” have all premiered at the festival in the last few years.

The 73rd Venice Film Festival runs from August 31- September 10.