Ang Lee's Life Of Pi To Open 50th New York Film Festival

The World Premiere of Ang Lee's Life Of Pi will open the New York Film Festival September 28th. The screening launching the 50th anniversary of the annually anticipated film event will be a return for the Oscar-winning director, who screened Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as the festival's closing night event 12 years ago. Robert Altman, Pedro Almodóvar and Francois Truffaut are the only other directors to have had more than one film chosen to bow the festival. Lee's The Ice Storm opened the 1997 edition of NYFF.

The film stars Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tobey Maguire and Gérard Depardieu.

Life Of Pi will the be the first 3-D NYFF opener. Based on the book that has sold more than seven million copies and a number o f years on bestseller lists, the feature takes place over three continents, two oceans, many years and a wide world of imagination. Lee's vision, coupled with game-changing technological breakthroughs, haas turned a story long throughout 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 ship's only other survivor…a fearsome Bengal tiger. The Twentieth Century Fox release is due in theaters November 21st.

Life Of Pi is a perfect combination of technological innovation and a strong artistic vision," Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center said via a statement. "And 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."

"I am both delighted and honored to be back a the New York Film Festival with Life Of Pi," Lee said in a statement. "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."

Last week NYFF said it will close out its festival with the world premiere of Robert Zemeckis's Flight, starring Denzel Washington.

Previous Opening Night Gala titles include Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel (1963), Gill Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (1967), Akir 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 Frear's The Queen (2006) and David Fincher's The Social Network (2010).

Produced by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the 50th New York Film Festival will take place September 28 - October 14th

Watch the trailer on YouTube.