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Director Sam Mendes to head jury at Venice Film Festival
In this Nov. 2, 2015 file photo, director Sam Mendes poses for photographers as he walks the red carpet at the regional premiere of the latest James Bond film, "Spectre," at the National Auditorium in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
  • MILAN (AP)
  • --

Organizers of the Venice Film Festival say Oscar-winning British director Sam Mendes will head the jury that will choose winners in this year's competition.

In announcing Mendes' appointment Wednesday, organizers said the director has "established himself as one of the most highly respected film directors of recent years."

The 50-year-old Mendes was quoted as saying that his "happiest film festival memory is launching 'Road to Perdition' at Venice in 2002."

Mendes' directorial debut, "American Beauty," won five Oscars, including best director and best picture. Mendes is also an accomplished theater director.

The Venice Film Festival, the world's oldest, is holding its 73rd edition this year. It will be held from Aug. 31-Sept. 10, when the jury will select the winner of the coveted Golden Lion for best film.