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Tom Hanks, ‘Captain Phillips’ Will Open New York Film Festival

Paul Greengrass' upcoming film will screen at opening gala of 51st NYFF

Captain Phillips,” the Tom Hanks topliner directed by Paul Greengrass, will launch the 51st New York Film Festival.

The movie, a look at the 2009 hijacking of a U.S. ship by Somali pirates, is the only title to be announced so far in the upcoming lineup of the 2013 NYFF, running Sept. 27-Oct. 13. It’s also an initial glimpse at what will be the first slate chosen under the leadership of the fest’s new director of programming and selection committee chair, Kent Jones. The exec took the reins of the fest earlier this year after the departure of Richard Pena, who exited the top spot after a 25-year tenure at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Gotham nonprofit that presents the annual fest.

Opening night gala screening will rep the world premiere of the Sony Pictures film produced by Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca. The imprimatur of a slot on NYFF’s rigorously tight main slate — a careful mix of festival-circuit faves with a handful of high-profile debuts — can play an important role in creating awards-season buzz for a film.

The 2010 NYFF opener was another Sony title from Rudin, Brunetti and De Luca, “The Social Network,” which went on to score eight Oscar noms and three wins. The following year, the fest’s “surprise screening” of “Hugo” helped that movie secure a rep as more than just a kids’ film, eventually snagging 11 Oscar nods and five trophies.

Greengrass’ film “Bloody Sunday” had a spot in the 2002 fest.

NYFF’s full main slate of around 25 or 30 titles remains to be announced, as do the offerings that will screen as part of the festival’s full complement of additional programming.

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