The 38-year-old Argentinian director Diego Lerman will be heading the international jury that this year, for the first time, will assign the Venice Days Award to one of the thirteen films in competition at Venice Days in 2014.
After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires and furthering his studies at the School of Dramatic Arts and the International Film School in Cuba, Lerman made his feature debut with Suddenly in 2002, winning the Silver Leopard at Locarno. He was then offered a residency at the Cinéfondation-Festival de Cannes to write his second film, Meanwhile, which premiered at Venice Days in 2006. Lerman went on to directThe Invisible Eye (2010) and Refugiado (2014, Directors' Fortnight), as well as numerous shorts and a documentary for television.
When told that he had been tapped to preside over the Venice Days jury, Lerman had this to say: "I'm quite familiar with the atmosphere over at this section of the Venice Film Festival, and I think it's going to be very entertaining. Do you think I'll need to bring along some armor and a weapon to keep the jurors and directors at bay?".
Actually, Lerman finds himself facing a very original challenge: that of coordinating the tastes and preferences of twenty-eight young jurors coming from as many countries in the European Union. These participants in the "campus experience" at "28 Times Cinema" will be the ones to decide, in an open session streamed live, the winner of the Venice Days Award, which comes with a cash prize of €20,000 to be split equally between the film's director and international distributor.
And the young jurors will also be getting special guidance from Karel Och, the artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, who will assist them in making their choices for all eleven days of the Venice Film Festival. Born in 1974, this world-renowned film expert, curator of major retrospectives and programmer will lead the discussions without taking part in the final vote.
"We certainly couldn't suggest having a Venice Days award," says Delegate General Giorgio Gosetti, "and resort to traditional methods and juries. Instead, we're placing our bets on the passion of a group of young viewers and the capability of a world-class director who is young himself, to turn the jurors' task into a clear-cut, exciting opportunity for reflection on the cinema of the future. It's practically a survey of the tastes of the new audiences to whom we are devoting our efforts."