Stephen Frears and his Cannes competition jury made their first public appearance in Cannes on Wednesday at the festival's opening day press conference.

Frears was flanked by jury members Toni Collette, Maggie Cheung, Maria de Medeiros, Sarah Polley, Marco Bellocchio, Orhan Pamuk, Michel Piccoli and Abderrahmane Sissako.

When asked whether any of them had hesitated upon receiving the call to take part in the jury for the 60th anniversary of the festival, Frears joked: 'I hesitated, then I spoke to my ex-wife.' The comment got a lot of laughs if not too much understanding from assembled journalists.

Collette recalled that a few months ago she wondered aloud to her make-up person, 'How does one get chosen for the Cannes jury' That would be bloody amazing!' Soon after, she received a request by email.

Asked whether he planned to run the jury the same way he runs a film set, Frears deadpanned, 'Do you mean with violence and brutality' No, these people are pretty classy. If I'm smart, I'll keep my mouth shut.'

Still, the undisputed star of the gathering was Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk. Apart from Frears, the Turkish-born writer was asked the most questions and was also rushed at the dais following the conference with journalists pushing forward copies of his books to be signed.

Hailed for his reflective writing, Pamuk said that his first memory of Cannes 'is probably the same as most people: The image of a semi-naked woman in the 60s on the beach and I said, 'I want to be there!'