Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’ to Open New York Film Festival

"Life of Pi," from "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crouching Tiger" director Ang Lee, will have its world premiere at NYFF on Sept. 28

Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" has been selected as the opening-night attraction at the New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced on Monday.

The film will make its world premiere on Sept. 28 to kick off the 50th NYFF. It is Lee's second film to open the festival, after "The Ice Storm" in 1997. His Oscar-winning "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was NYFF's closing-night attraction in 2000.

With the selection, Lee becomes the fourth director to have more than one film open NYFF. Robert Altman, Pedro Almodovar and Francois Truffaut are the others.

Life of PiThe film will screen in 3D, making it the first NYFF opener in that format.

"Life of Pi," based on the novel by Yann Martel, deals with a young man who survives a disaster at sea with the seeming help of some unusual companions. When 20th Century Fox released a trailer and screened footage at CinemaCon, many viewers were impressed both by the apparent emotion and by the technical artistry.

“'Life of Pi' is a perfect combination of technological innovation and a strong artistic vision," said Richard Peña, selection committee chairman and program director for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in a press release announcing the selection.

"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."

Said Lee, "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."

Based on a novel that sold more than seven million copies, "Life of Pi" is considered one of the fall's clear awards contenders, and its booking is a coup for NYFF.  The film is scheduled for release on Nov. 21.

The festival will conclude on Oct. 14 with a screening of Robert Zemeckis' "Flight."