ROME -- The Venice Film Festival has announced that Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller "Black Swan" will open its 67th edition.Hotly anticipated Fox Searchlight pic, starring Natalie Portman as a New York City ballet dancer contending with a new rival, played by Mila Kunis, will world preem on the Lido, in competition, on Sept. 1.Stars Portman, Kunis, and also Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder and Vincent Cassel are expected on the Lido to come tubthump the pic, test screenings for which have reportedly been generating plenty of buzz.Aronofsky is a Venice aficionado, having won a Golden Lion with "The Wrestler" in 2008, after previously premiering his "The Fountain" on the Lido in 2006."We could not have asked for a better launch for Darren and 'Black Swan' than the Venice International Film Festival," enthused Fox Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley in a statement.Fest runs Sept. 1-11.
Highly experienced in film exhibition and distribution, he has overseen many of Searchlight’s most successful and acclaimed films to date, which have amassed an impressive 117 Oscar nominations, including best picture winners “Slumdog Millionaire,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Birdman.”
Previously the division’s president of distribution since 2000, Gilula was appointed prexy in 2009, jointly managing production, acquisitions, marketing and distribution alongside fellow president Nancy Utley. With his guidance, Searchlight has established an enviable track record with such releases as “Jackie,” “Brooklyn,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “The Descendants.” Upcoming releases include “Battle of the Sexes,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “The Shape of Water.”
Prior to joining Searchlight, Gilula served as president and CEO of Landmark Theatres, which he co-founded in 1974 and grew from one screen to a national chain of more than 140 screens, dominating specialty film exhibition. He spent five years on the board of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners and supervised the expansion and management of ShoWest (now CinemaCon), the world’s largest convention of theater owners. He began his career as a film booker/buyer at UA Theatre Circuit in San Francisco.