BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson will serve as president of a seven-member jury for this year's Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), the festival's general manager said on Thursday.
Levinson, a 69-year-old American director, writer and producer, won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Director for his comedy-drama Rain Man, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. His other noted works include Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Bugsy (1991) and Sleepers (1996).
Other jury members will include UK screenwriter Christopher Hampton, Japanese director Yoichi Sai, Vietnam-born French director Tran Anh Hung, Spanish actress Paz Vega, Chinese director Wang Quan'an and Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu.
As of April 15, a total of 1,519 films from 102 countries and regions have applied to compete for the festival's top prize, the Golden Goblet, SIFF general manager Tang Lijun said at a press conference on Thursday. Tang added that the number of candidates has increased greatly in comparison to previous festivals.
According to a statement published on the SIFF's official website, the first batch of films selected for the competition includes films from Argentina, Italy, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Russia.
One of the competitors is the feature film There Be Dragons by British director Roland Joffe, a Palme d'Or award-winner for his 1986 film The Mission.
In addition to forum discussions on topics such as film industry trends and international cooperative projects, this year's festival will also include a retrospective honoring the late Polish writer-director Krzysztof Kieslowski.
Several of Kieslowski's works will be screened at the festival, with some of them appearing for the first time on the Chinese mainland. These works will include The Double Life of Veronique, A Short Film About Love and the popular Three Colors trilogy (Red, White and Blue).
In addition, Japanese filmmaker Shunji Iwai, whose acclaimed works include Love Letter (1995) and All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001), will lead the jury for the Asian New Talent Award, another top prize awarded at the festival, Tang said.
Winners of the Asian New Talent Best Director and Best Picture awards, which are intended to encourage innovation in the Asian film industry and promote Asian films to the rest of the world, will each receive a cash prize of 300,000 yuan (46,153 U.S. dollars), Tang said.
The festival, which has been held annually since 1993, will run from June 11 to 19 this year.