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Major Awards Race Title Secured for 50th Anniversary Opener; Life of Pi is Shipwrecked at NYFF

He presented 1997’s The Ice Storm as the NYFF opener back in 1997, and today’s 50th anniversary opening film announcement see the return of Ang Lee with the highly anticipated book to film adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. We expected Richard Peña and co. to nab a premium title to celebrate half a century of excellent programming, but this is of the Slumdog Millionaire sort – a strong contender in the award season map and a major coup for the fest which will be book-ended with the world preem of Robert Zemeckis’ Flight. Life of Pi is set for a September 21st premiere – look for all NYFF coverage from our own Ryan Brown.

Scripted by David Magee, and based on Yann Martel’s novel, this is an absurdist and yet philosophical story, “Pi” follows a 16-year-old Indian boy whose passage to a new life in America aboard a freighter ends in shipwreck in the Pacific. Left to fend for himself for 227 days on a 26-foot life raft with a hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, Pi survives for the better part of a year through faith and guile, though Richard eventually kills off and dines on the rest of Pi’s shipmates.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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