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DeNiro to Lead Cannes Film Festival Jury

Robert DeNiro (2009 file photo)

Acclaimed U.S. film actor, director and producer Robert DeNiro will head the jury at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

In a statement issued Thursday by festival organizers, DeNiro called leading the jury "a rare opportunity as the festival is one of the oldest and best in the world."

He has served as president of the jury twice before in the 1980s.

DeNiro is considered by many to be one of the best actors of his generation. He earned academy awards for his roles in The Godfather Part II in 1974 and Raging Bull in 1980.

Two of his films won the Cannes Festival's Palme d'Or award - Taxi Driver in 1976 and The Mission in 1986.

DeNiro co-founded the Tribeca Film festival in 2002, which has a sister festival in Doha.

The Cannes festival, named for the French Mediterranean resort city where it is held, began in 1946 and is considered by many to be the industry’s most prestigious film festival.

It begins May 11 and runs until May 22.