Ang Lee’s Life of Pi Will Open 50th New York Film Festival

Last week, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced that Robert Zemeckis’ Flight would close the 50th AnnualNew York Film Festival and now they’ve announced that the festival’s Opening Gala would be by an equally prestigious filmmaker as it kicks off on September 28 with Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel, Life of Pi.

Life of Pi is about a young man who survives a tragic disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While marooned on a lifeboat, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with the ship’s only other survivor — a fearsome Bengal tiger.

Life of Pi is scheduled for release on November 21.

You can read the full press below but before that, here’s a list of all 49 movies that have opened the New York Film Festival in past years, an impressive list indeed:

New York Film Festival Opening Night Films

1963 The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, Mexico)
1964 Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev, USSR)
1965 Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, France)
1966 Loves of a Blonde (Milos Forman, Czechoslovakia)
1967 The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, Italy/Algeria)
1968 Capricious Summer (Jiri Menzel, Czechoslovakia)
1969 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky, US)
1970 The Wild Child (François Truffaut, France)
1971 The Debut (Gleb Panfilov, Soviet Union)
1972 Chloe in the Afternoon (Eric Rohmer, France)
1973 Day for Night (François Truffaut, France)
1974 Don’t Cry With Your Mouth Full (Pascal Thomas, France)
1975 Conversation Piece (Luchino Visconti, Italy)
1976 Small Change (François Truffaut, France)
1977 One Sings, The Other Doesn’t (Agnès Varda, France)
1978 A Wedding (Robert Altman, US)
1979 Luna (Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy/US)
1980 Melvin and Howard (Jonathan Demme, US)
1981 Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, UK)
1982 Veronika Voss (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany)
1983 The Big Chill (Lawrence Kasdan, US)
1984 Country (Richard Pearce, US)
1985 Ran (Akira Kurosawa, Japan)
1986 Down By Law (Jim Jarmusch, US)
1987 Dark Eyes (Nikita Mikhalkov, Soviet Union)
1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
1989 Too Beautiful For You (Bertrand Blier, France)
1990 Miller’s Crossing (Joel Coen, US)
1991 The Double Life of Veronique (Krysztof Kieslowski, Poland/France)
1992 Olivier Olivier (Agnieszka Holland, France)
1993 Short Cuts (Robert Altman, US)
1994 Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, US)
1995 Shanghai Triad (Zhang Yimou, China)
1996 Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, UK)
1997 The Ice Storm (Ang Lee, US)
1998 Celebrity (Woody Allen, US)
1999 All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain)
2000 Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, Denmark)
2001 Va Savoir (Jacques Rivette, France)
2002 About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, US)
2003 Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, US)
2004 Look At Me (Agnès Jaoui, France)
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck. (George Clooney, US)
2006 The Queen (Stephen Frears, UK)
2007 The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, US)
2008 The Class (Laurent Cantet, France)
2009 Wild Grass (Alain Resnais, France)
2010 The Social Network (David Fincher, US)
2011 Carnage (Roman Polanski, France/Poland)

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI will make its World Premiere as the Opening Night Gala presentation for the upcoming 50th New York Film Festival (September 28 – October 14). The screening will mark the Academy Award-winning director’s return to NYFF, 12 years after CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON served as the Closing Night Gala presentation (2000). The selection of LIFE OF PI also allows Lee to join Robert Altman, Pedro Almodóvar and François Truffaut as the only directors to have had more than one film chosen to open NYFF. (THE ICE STORM was the Opening Night Gala selection in 1997.)

A respected presence at the New York Film Festival and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in 2009 FSLC celebrated Lee’s career with a complete retrospective of the director’s work at the Walter Reade Theater. The LIFE OF PI screening will also mark the first time a film has been presented in 3D for NYFF’s Opening Night Gala.

Among the films that have been selected for the prestigious Opening Night Gala slot over the course of NYFF’s 50-year history include Luis Buñuel’s THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL (1963), Gillo Pontecorvo’s THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1967), Akira Kurosawa’s RAN (1985), Pedro Almodóvar’s WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (1988) Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION (1994), Mike Leigh’s SECRETS & LIES (1996), Stephen Frears’s THE QUEEN (2006) and David Fincher’s THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010) (complete list below).

“LIFE OF PI is a perfect combination of technological innovation and a strong artistic vision. 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,” says Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Based on the book that has sold more than seven million copies and spent years on the bestseller list, Academy Award winner Lee’s LIFE OF PI takes place over three continents, two oceans, many years, and a wide world of imagination. Lee’s vision, coupled with game-changing technological breakthroughs, has turned a story long thought un-filmable into a totally original cinematic event and the first truly international all-audience motion picture. LIFE OF PI follows a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While marooned on a lifeboat, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with the ship¹s only other survivor…a fearsome Bengal tiger. The Twentieth Century Fox release is due in theaters on November 21, 2012.

Regarding his return to NYFF, Ang Lee said, “I am both delighted and honored to be back at the New York Film Festival with LIFE OF PI. 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.”

Rose Kuo, Executive Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, added, “Ang Lee has shown us his mastery of intimate psychological drama as well as epic action-adventure and we are thrilled to welcome him back to the New York Film Festival with an exciting film that displays of all his talent.”

The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring top films from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Peña also includes: Melissa Anderson, Contributor, Village Voice; Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center; Todd McCarthy, Chief Film Critic, The Hollywood Reporter; and Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight and Sound.

General Public tickets will be available September 9th. There will be an advance ticketing opportunity for Film Society of Lincoln Center Patrons and Members prior to that date. For more information visit www.Filmlinc.com/NYFF or call 212 875 5601.

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