Director Jane Campion, the only woman to have won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, will lead the jury for the prestigious event this year.
Festival organisers announced today that the 59-year-old will succeed Steven Spielberg, who led the panel last year.
New Zealander Campion was awarded the Palme d'Or prize in 1993 for The Piano, and earlier won Cannes' top short film award.
While several women have presided over the jury before, most films presented have been directed by men.
Festival director Gilles Jacob, in a statement, described Campion as "a true master" who wowed juries with films "shot through with such courage and humanity and captured such a unique world".
Campion, looking ahead to the festival in the south of France from May 14-25, said: "I can't wait."