Rabat – American film director James Gray will chair the jury of the 2018 Marrakech international Film Festival (FIFM) November 30 to December 8. “The Marrakech Film Festival is a unique place where the language of cinema brings together people from all over the world. It is an immense honor to be named president of the jury and to return for the third time in this great festival,” said the filmmaker in a statement issued Wednesday by the organizers.Born in New York, the 49-year-old artist grew up in Queens but studied at the Film and Television School of the University of Southern California. Gray made his film debut in 1994 at the age of 25 with “Little Odessa,” a critically-acclaimed film that won the Critics’ Prize at the Deauville Festival and the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. He was named the same year to the Independent Spirit Awards for the Best First Feature Award and the Best Screenplay Award. His second film, “The Yards,” was selected to show in the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, just as “We Own the Night” in 2007. In his latest film, “Two Lovers,” nominated for the Césars, James Gray teams up for the third time with actor Joaquin Phoenix. The romantic drama, set in Brooklyn, also stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Isabella Rossellini. “Two Lovers” was selected to show in 2008 at the Cannes Film Festival.Gray has collaborated with the biggest names in Hollywood such as Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Charlize Theron.Since its inauguration in 2002, the FIFM has welcomed notable cinematic personalities, including Francis Ford Coppola, Charlotte Rampling, Martin Scorsese, and Marion Cotillard. Last year, Marrakech’s festival was cancelled “in order to allow the festival to advance in its mission not only to promote Moroccan cinema, but also to open up to other cultures,” said the organizers in a statement.