Sean Penn has been named as the new president of the Cannes Film Festival jury.

The actor, writer and director will follow in the footsteps of Emir Kusturica, STEPHEN FREARS and Wong Kar-Wai.

In a statement, Penn said: "In the last few years it seems there has been a rejuvenation of cinema building worldwide; increasingly thoughtful, provocative, moving, and imaginative films by talented filmmakers: that a new generation of filmmaking may have begun.

"The Cannes Film Festival has long been the epicentre in the discovery of those new waves of filmmakers from all over the world."

The Oscar-winning actor added that he was very much looking forward to being a part of the jury.

The festival will take place between May 14th and 25th, with the much coveted Palme d'Or prize for best film being awarded on the final day.

Penn turned to directing after starring in string of Hollywood hits such as MYSTIC RIVER and I Am Sam.

His latest endeavour INTO THE WILD has been nominated for a number of Screen Actors Guild awards, which are often regarded as a key Oscars indicator.

Meanwhile, the 47-year-old divorced from his wife, actress ROBIN WRIGHT-PENN, last week.

The couple had been married for 11 years.

03/01/2008 11:09:26