Sean Penn has gone from actor to director to now the head of the jury at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. It will take place May14th thru the 25th. Cannes is well known for being a left-wing festival, and that may be the reason for picking Penn.
He is an outspoken critic of George W. Bush, in particular over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and civil liberties. He also visited Iraq before the attacks and traveled to Tehran on a reporting trip in 2005.
Penn stated, "It seems there has been a rejuvenation of cinema building worldwide; increasingly thoughtful, provocative, moving, and imaginative films by talented filmmakers: that a new generation of filmmaking may have begun. The Cannes Film Festival has long been the epicenter in the discovery of those new waves of filmmakers from all over the world. I very much look forward to participating in this year's festival as president of the jury."