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Steven Spielberg named president of 66th Cannes Film Festival jury

Steven Spielberg has been named as president of the jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The veteran director follows in the footsteps of past jury presidents such as Tim Burton, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Ingrid Bergman, Clint Eastwood and Kirk Douglas.

Jeremy Irvine and Steven Spielberg in-between takes.

Steven Spielberg with Jeremy Irvine at work on the set of War Horse

Spielberg won the Palme d'Or - the festival's top prize - in 1974 for The Sugarland Express.

"The memory of my first Cannes Film Festival, nearly 31 years ago with the debut of ET, is still one of the most vibrant memories of my career," said Spielberg in a statement on Thursday morning (February 28).

"For over six decades, Cannes has served as a platform for extraordinary films to be discovered and introduced to the world for the first time. It is an honour and a privilege to preside over the jury of a festival that proves, again and again, that cinema is the language of the world."

Oscars 2013: 85th Academy Awards red carpet arrivals - Steven Spielberg

© PA Images / John Shearer / AP

Steven Spielberg at the 85th Academy Awards

"Steven Spielberg is a Cannes regular - Sugarland Express, Colour Purple - but it was with ET, that I screened as a world premiere in '82, that ties were made of the type you never forget," said Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob.

"Ever since, I've often asked Steven to be jury president, but he's always been shooting a film. So when this year I was told, 'ET, phone home', I understood and immediately replied, 'At last!'"

The 66th annual Cannes Film Festival takes place between May 16 and 23, 2013.

Watch a trailer for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln below:

Steven Spielberg: A career in pictures - photo gallery:
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