Del Toro promises no favors for amigo Cuaron at Venice Film Festival

The 75th Venice International Film Festival - Juries photocall - Venice, Italy, August 29, 2018 - Jury president for the Venezia 75 Competition Guillermo del Toro. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - Guillermo del Toro has vowed no national bias as head of the jury at the Venice Film Festival, in which fellow Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron has a hotly tipped movie in competition.

Del Toro, whose “The Shape of Water” won the Golden Lion in Venice last year, will sit in judgement on “Gravity” director Cuaron’s “Roma”, an autobiographical drama in 1970s Mexico City.

Along with fellow Oscar winner Alejandro Inarritu, they are known as “The Three Amigos” - Mexicans who have become major Hollywood filmmakers of the last two decades.

“I am the president of the jury, not the dictator,” del Toro told a news conference in Venice on Wednesday, when asked if he might be tempted to help his friend win the top prize.

“The most important thing is simply to be adult, professional filmmakers who are considering the films based on what is in the rectangle (screen). Nothing else,” he said, adding that a movie’s nationality was of no importance.

Among the jury are Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, British-Australian actress Naomi Watts, and New Zealand comedian, actor and director Taika Waititi.

“I’m a very judgemental person, so this was perfect for me. I thrive on judging people,” Waititi told reporters, adding that he was undaunted by the prospect of spending the next two weeks watching arty, and potentially humorless, movies.

“I think I am going to do a great job watching a lot of depressing films,” he joked.

The Venice Film Festival runs from Aug. 29 to Sept 8.

Reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Ken Ferris