The new year is in full swing and it’s time to start prepping for the various festivals that will take place in a few months. One of the biggest of the bunch is Cannes and today they’ve made an important announcement regarding this year’s event. According to THR, they’ve appointed Oscar winner Robert De Niro as the President of the 2011 Cannes Jury.

De Niro was chosen not only because of his extensive film career but because of his own work on the festival circuit. The actor established the Tribeca Film Festival, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. In the past, De Niro has presented eight films at Cannes, two of which won the coveted Palme d’Or namely Taxi Driver in 1976 and The Mission 10 years later.

After hearing the news, De Niro was both ecstatic and humbled by the honor:

“The Cannes Film Festival is a rare opportunity for me as it is one of the oldest and one of the best in the world. Having served as president of the jury in the eighties twice, I know this isn’t an easy task for me or my fellow jury members, but I’m very honored and happy to head the jury for this year’s Cannes Film Festival.”

The 2011 Cannes Film Festival will run May 11 – 22.

What do you think of De Niro presiding over the Cannes jury?