Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman to be on Shanghai film fest jury

Shanghai: Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Hugh Grant, Hayden Christensen along with Chinese actress Gong Li, will be part of the jury this year and attend the red carpet event of the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF).

Natalie Portman and Nicole Kidman
Natalie Portman and Nicole Kidman. Pics/Santa Banta 

The youngest in the top league film festivals will be celebrated in this Chinese economic capital between 14 and 22 June.

Kidman will open the festival on June 14 while Portman will close it June 22. The festival will see the presentation of the Jin Jue awards, made in the form of golden statuettes of an ancient traditional Chinese cup.

Kidman will promote her latest film, 'Grace of Monaco', and Hugh Grant will also do the same for his new romantic film, 'The Rewrite', while Canadian actor Hayden Christensen will appear for his film 'Outcast'.

The festival's organising committee announced this through their official website Wednesday as did all major newspapers in Shanghai.

According to the organisers, the commercial success of these films has made China the second largest market for world cinema, that has helped to attract more and more film stars to the festival.

This year's jury will be headed by Chinese actress Gong Li, former muse of the internationally renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou. The other members will include British director Sally Potter, Danish director Lone Scherfig, South Korean producer Im Sangsoo and Japanese sriptwriter Shunji Iwai.

Chinese director Liu Jie and Iranian actor Payman Maadi are also on the jury.

In recent years, SIFF has had jury presidents like directors Luc Besson, Danny Boyle, Jean Jacques Annaud, Wong Kar Wai, John Woo, Tom Hooper, Barry Levinson and Chen Kaige, and in the last decade Spaniards Fernando Trueba, Penelope Cruz y Manuel Gutierrez Aragon have also been members of the jury.

Gong Li is an old associate of the festival making her appearance in its first edition (1993) and then again in the years 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

"Chinese cinema is in a stage of prosperous development and our market is becoming more and more attractive to the world, which has increased the intimacy of our interactions and collaborations with world filmmakers", said Gong, who accepted the presidency as an "honour", according to the organisation's statement.

The festival this year received a record number of 1,099 films in competition.

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