'Persepolis' to screen on closing night

Notable U.S. directors such as Brian De Palma, Todd Haynes and Noah Baumbach dominate the slate at the 2007 New York Film Festival, which unveiled its full lineup on Wednesday.

Fest also announced that Sony Classics’ “Persepolis,” the animated pic about the Iranian Revolution from Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, will unspool as the closing-night film on Oct. 14.

But it’s the U.S. helmers who will be making their mark at the event with pics such as Baumbach’s family dramedy “Margot at the Wedding,” De Palma’s scripted Iraq war pic “Redacted,” Gus Van Sant’s skater drama “Paranoid Park” and Haynes’ unconventional Dylan biopic “I’m Not There.”

News comes on the heels of the announcement that fest regular Wes Anderson will open the event with his Indian-set “The Darjeeling Limited” on Sept. 28, while the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” will be featured as the centerpiece on Oct. 6.

“It happens to be that rare year when there’s a constellation of American filmmakers who have completed their work all at about the same time,” said fest director Richard Pena.

The New York fest always seeks to strike a balance between foreign and homegrown helmers. But Pena said that the committee — which in addition to Pena and associate director Kent Jones includes the L.A. Weekly’s Scott Foundas, the Village Voice’s J. Hoberman and EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum — found it a particular struggle this year. “On the one hand, we like to have a festival that is representative of world cinema. On the other hand, we think it should be devoted to the best films no matter what country they come from,” Pena said.

Fest also announced that it will honor New Line co-toppers Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne at a gala to raise money for a new film center. Though New Line has no movies in the festival, Pena cited the duo’s long relationship with the event and said Shaye even held a summer job at the fest.

The New York Film Festival also touted the return of Sidney Lumet, whose Philip Seymour Hoffman starrer “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” will mark the first appearance for the iconic director since 1964, when “Fail-Safe” screened there.

On the foreign-language side, American Julian Schnabel’s French-language film “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and Spanish-language pic “The Orphanage” will join Abel Ferrara’s “Go Go Tales,” Claude Chabrol’s “A Girl Cut in Two” and the previously announced “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” and “Secret Sunshine.”

Fest has become an increasingly important showcase for Gotham media as well as a stop on the fall awards circuit.

Last year Miramax kicked off its kudos campaign for Helen Mirren when it opened the festival with “The Queen,” while Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” built awards momentum with U.S. premieres at the fest.

The New York Film Festival also tries to balance its awards-season influence with an academic bent. In that vein, a new director’s cut of “Blade Runner” and John Ford’s early film “The Iron Horse” will be screened this year along with an evening titled the Technicolor Show to be introduced by Martin Scorsese.

Several music docs will also be featured at the fest’s Walter Reade theater, including films about Tom Petty and Bob Dylan’s Newport concerts.

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