Pic to serve as fest's closer

NEW YORK — The Tribeca Film Festival has skedded the world preem of “The Italian Job” and has unveiled a lineup of panel discussions on independent film and entertainment industry issues that includes talks with Nathan Lane, Helen Hunt, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Patricia Clarkson and Kenneth Lonergan, plus others.

“Italian Job” will serve as the fest’s closing-night gala May 11, with star Mark Wahlberg expected to attend.

Directed by F. Gary Gray and produced by Donald De Line, the film is a contemporary update of Par’s 1969 pic about a master thief and his gang who pull off a gold bullion heist from a heavily guarded Venetian palazzo. Charlize Theron and Edward Norton also star, along with Seth Green, Jason Statham, Mos Def, Franky G and Donald Sutherland. Par will open the pic domestically May 30.

The closing-nighter provides Tribeca with high-profile studio premieres to bookend the fest, which will open May 3 with Family Festival events but gets its overall kickoff May 6 with Fox’s “Down With Love,” starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor.

As for the panels, taking place May 7-11 during the fest, series will bring together actors, directors, writers, musicians, producers and academics in a debate forum designed for consumer and industry consumption.

Among the highlights “South Park” creators Parker and Stone team with “Austin Powers” helmer Jay Roach, screenwriter Paul Rudnick and Lane to discuss the state of American comedy, while film music comes under scrutiny via a spotlight on composer and frequent Coen brothers collaborator Carter Burwell.

Indie bridges

Also scheduled is a look at the bridge between the indie community and Hollywood, featuring screenwriter Lonergan with Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard, IFC prexy Jonathan Sehring, thesps Clarkson and Sam Rockwell, independent production attorney John Sloss and producer Christine Vachon.

“Eve’s Bayou” helmer Kasi Lemmons will huddle with actresses Ruby Dee and Alfre Woodard to examine the role and representation of black women in film; Alan Cumming and “Daredevil” scribe Mark Steven Johnson check the pulse of the screen superhero; and filmmakers and scientists with experience in space travel weigh in to mark a 20th anniversary screening of “The Right Stuff.”

Bites of reality

Other panels include “Solving the Mystery: Forensics on Film,” featuring “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” director John McNaughton and “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf; and “War on Film: The Ultimate Reality Program?,” with panelists including former Warner topper Lorenzo di Bonaventura and “Black Hawk Down” author Mark Bowden.

Previously announced panels include “Directors on Directing” sessions with Julie Taymor and Neil LaBute; and “Actors on Acting,” moderated by Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart and featuring Helen Hunt, Paul Rudd and Edie Falco in a discussion of thesps straddling theater and film work. Al Pacino is scheduled to expound on the actor’s journey in a talk on his 1996 film “Looking for Richard.”

Power breakfasts

Tribeca Breakfasts include a Writers Guild of America debate among writers of fact-based material, with Akiva Goldsman, Susannah Grant, Stephen Gaghan, Ron Nyswaner and Kimberley Peirce, and a look at the crossover between breaking news and film, featuring “Traffic” producer Laura Bickford and ABC war news chief Robert Wiener.

Four talks are skedded in the Doc@Tribeca series, with panels including filmmakers Nick Broomfield, Jennifer Dworkin, Andrew Jarecki, Joan Churchill, Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker.

The second Tribeca Film Festival will run May 3-11.

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