The past few months have been a whirlwind of history-making acclamations for Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki. Her latest feature, Capharnaüm, took the world by storm after its release in September, rendering her one of the region's top film auteurs.
In yet another historic milestone for the director, the Cannes Film Festival named her the president of its Un Certain Regard jury, making her the first Arab to take on this role.
Her appointment was announced in a statement posted on the festival's official website on Tuesday.
"After moving hearts and minds at the last Festival de Cannes with her Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated Capernaum, which won the Jury Prize in Cannes, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki will be taking over from actor Benicio Del Toro as President of the Un Certain Regard Jury for the 72nd edition of the Festival," the statement read.
The director expressed her joy at being selected to head a jury at the festival's upcoming 72nd edition.
"I can't wait to see the films in the Selection. I can't wait to debate and discuss, to be shaken up, to find inspiration in other artists' work," she said.
This year's Cannes Film Festival is set to launch on May 14 with the Lebanese starlet in attendance. The Un Certain Regard screenings will start on May 15 "with an introduction of the Jury in the evening." The section's winners will be announced on Friday May 24.
The section is run parallel to the Palme d'Or competition at Cannes and was introduced in 1978. Every year it features 20 films that are deemed worthy of recognition by select jury members.
Everyone's proud of Labaki's achievement
"Inspiring news for all Arab female filmmakers out there!"
Labaki's Capharnaüm is her most critically acclaimed feature to date
The film tells the story of a child who struggles to survive and sues his family "for giving him life in the first place."
He was not registered at birth, as his parents could not afford the fees required to do so. He exists, but not on paper. He has no I.D. card - meaning he is unable to get a passport, attend school, or get medical assistance.
The Lebanese feature screened worldwide including the U.S., UK, and France.
Following its release last year, Capharnaüm received international acclamation, and earned a 15-minute standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival.
Labaki's masterpiece was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards), an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe in the Film in Foreign Language category. It also won awards at different film festivals around the world including the Stockholm International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Qatari Ajyal Film Festival.
During its award season run, Capharnaüm also caught the attention of global celebrities including American media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who tweeted out her appreciation of the film and praised Labaki's work.
British rock band Coldplay also casually recommended the film to their fans on Twitter.