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Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” will open the New York Film Festival


By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Now the New York Film Festival can claim it will open AND close with anticipated world premieres.

Days after fest organizers announced that Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight” would close this year’s event on Oct. 14, executives confirmed that Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” will kick off the cinematic celebration with a world-premiere screening on Sept. 28. The movie will play nearly two months prior to “Pi” opening in theaters on Nov. 21.

“‘Life of Pi’ is a perfect combination of technological innovation and a strong artistic vision,” said Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center. “Ang Lee has managed to make a deeply moving, engrossing work that will delight audiences as much as it will astonish them. We’re enormously proud to have this film for our Opening Night for the 50th NYFF.”

The screening also will go a long way in determining whether Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel will lead the charge into the Oscar race.

Lee’s no stranger to the awards marathon, having won his first Best Director Oscar for helming “Brokeback Mountain.” He’s also no stranger to NYFF, so the selection of “Pi” for an Opening Night film is largely expected … though still a vote of confidence by 20th Century Fox in their pending drama.

“I am both delighted and honored to be back at the New York Film Festival with ‘Life of Pi,'” Ang Lee said. “I have the deepest respect for Richard Peña and his team and to be selected by them as the Opening Night Film for the 50th Anniversary is extremely gratifying. I am also excited because this is my hometown, and to be unveiling this film that I am so proud of here is a real pleasure.”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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