Emir Nemanja Kusturica is a filmmaker, actor and musician. He has been recognised for several internationally acclaimed feature films, as well as his projects in town-building. He has twice won the Palme d’Or at Cannes (for When Father Was Away on Business and Underground), as well as being named Knight of the French Legion of Honour (2011) and Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2007).
In 2001, Emir Kusturica directed Super 8 Stories, a documentary road and concert movie about The No Smoking Orchestra, of which he is a band member. He was appointed President of the Jury of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. His film, Maradona, a documentary about Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona, was released in Italy in May 2007. It premiered in France during the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. His film Promise Me This premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. During 2007, Emir Kusturica prepared a punk opera, Times of the Gypsies. The premiere took place in June 2007, at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. The next month, Kusturica directed the music video to Manu Chao’s single “Rainin in Paradize” from the latter’s forthcoming album.
On 8 September 2007, Emir Kusturica was appointed a UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia.
Since January 2008 Emir Kusturica organised the annual private Küstendorf Film Festival. Its first instalment was held at Drvengrad, a village built for his film Life Is a Miracle, from 14 to 21 January 2008.His next film, Cool Water, is a comedy set against the background of a Middle East conflict. Filming started in November 2010 in Germany. It is the first time Emir Kusturica directed a film which he did not write.
At the 64th Cannes Film Festival, held 11–22 May 2011, Emir Kusturica presided over the jury of the Un Certain Regard section of the festival’s official selection. On 14 May 2011, in Cannes, he was invested with the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
In September 2012 Emir Kusturica accepted the offer to become the head juror of the first Saint Petersburg International Film Festival.