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Jane Campion: scooping Palme d’Ors across the board

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

New Zealand director, producer and screenwriter Jane Campion is one of the most iconic film-makers of our times. After studying anthropology at Victoria University in Wellington followed by painting at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and the Sydney College of the Arts, she began making films in the early 1980s as part of her studies at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

In 1986, she was selected in Competition at the Festival de Cannes, where her first short, Peel, was awarded the Palme d’Or. Having been revealed to the world on the Croisette, she returned to the Festival again and again to showcase her work on the Palais des Festivals’ screens: Two Friends, A Girl’s Own Story, Passionless Moments, Sweetie, and The Piano, which landed her the Palme d’Or in 1993 (tied), making Jane Campion the first woman to be awarded the honour – and the only woman to do so for a good 28 years.

Amassing three Academy Awards (Best Actress for Holly Hunter, Best Supporting Actress for Anna Paquin, Best Original Screenplay), three BAFTAs (Best Actress in a Leading Role for Holly Hunter, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design), the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, and the César for Best Foreign Film, The Piano catapulted Jane Campion to international acclaim as a director.

In 2014, she chaired the feature film jury for the 67th edition of the Festival de Cannes. Hand in hand with the other members of the jury (Carole Bouquet, Sofia Coppola, Leila Hatami, Jeon Do-Yeon, Willem Dafoe, Gael García Bernal, JIa Zhang-Ke, Nicolas Winding Refn), she awarded the Palme d’Or to Nuri Bilge Ceylan for his Winter Sleep, 11 years after winning the award herself.

“What makes the Festival de Cannes so unparalleled is its openness to the wider world and its passion for film. It's a legendary place, a place full of surprise and magic: actors emerge from the darkness, films find their way to producers, and careers are born here. I know it to be true. I’m living proof of it.” Jane Campion


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