Paul Verhoeven's second world war thriller Black Book will open the Miami International Film Festival, which runs from Mar 2-11.

Robert Cary's romantic comedy Ira & Abby has been chosen as the Awards Night film, while the world premiere of Antonio Cuadri's romance The Heart Of The Earth will close the festival.

The festival will honour director Luc Besson with the Career Achievement Tribute for his distinguished body of work, followed by a screening of Angel-A.

New this year is the Latin America Caribbean FedEx Express Audience Award for a film made by a Latin American or Caribbean film-maker or originated from a Latin American or Caribbean country and featured in the non-competition categories.

The roster features seven world premieres and 32 international North America and US premieres. Among them are: Agustin Diaz Yanes' swashbuckling adventure Alatriste (Spain) starring Viggo Mortensen; Ray Lawrence's festival favourite Jindabyne (Australia), and Andrea Arnold's drama Red Road (UK).

'The festival this year introduces new cinematic voices from Germany to Spain and Italy, from the US and Canada to Mexico and Paraguay, from Egypt to Indonesia,' festival director Nicole Guillemet said.

'Film festivals now serve a key role as a new channel of distribution, which replaces in many cases the traditional art house as a venue for the introduction of high quality, challenging cinema. The Miami International Film Festival is proud to be part of a movement which brings significant new films to a wide audience.'

This is Guillemet's last year at the festival she has headed since July 2002. Throughout this past transitional year she has run the event with managing director Carol Ann Lafferty.

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