M. Night Shyamalan is the surprise choice to head up the international competition jury for the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival.
The American director of genre hits The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Split, will be jury president for the 72nd Berlinale, which runs Feb. 10-20.
“I’m pleased and honored that M. Night Shyamalan has accepted our invitation to serve as president of the jury,” said Berlinale’s Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian in a statement. “Throughout his career, he’s shaped a universe in which fears and desires stand side by side, where young people are not only the protagonists but also the driving force for overcoming dread. Within the US movie business Shyamalan is a unique figure, a filmmaker that has remained faithful to his vision. This truthfulness to one’s ideal is also what we are looking for in our selection.”
Shyamalan’s appointment may come as a surprise for long-time Berlinale watchers who see the German festival as a bastion of high-minded arthouse cinema, though the director is indisputably a champion of independent movie-making.
“I have always felt like an independent filmmaker within the system of Hollywood,” Shyamalan said in a statement. “It is exactly those things in us that are different and unorthodox that define our voice. I have tried to maintain these things in myself and cheer others on to protect those aspects in their art and in themselves. Being asked to be a part of Berlinale is deeply meaningful to me. It represents the highest imprimatur for a filmmaker. Being able to support and celebrate the world’s very best talent in storytelling is a gift I happily accepted.”
Shyamalan’s credits include blockbuster titles such as Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002), and The Village (2004), as well as lower-budget horror, features The Visit (2015), and Old, his most recent film, which hit theaters this summer. He is currently working on Knock at the Cabin, which will be set for a February 2023 release.