Carandiru, Brazil's official entry to the Oscars, will open Argentina's Mar del Plata International Film Festival, slated to run from March 11th to 20th.

Pupi Avati's Heart Is Elsewhere (Il Cuore Altrove) will close the Latin American A-listed festival.

Carandiru director Hector Babenco is Argentine-born and is best known for directing Oscar-nominated The Kiss Of The Spider Woman which earned lead actor William Hurt his Oscar.

Launched in1954, the Mar del Plata International Film Festival is the oldest in the Americas but has also been suspended several times due to political and economic turbulence in the country. Now on his second year as festival director, writer/film director Miguel Pereira plans to build on the success of last year's edition which boasted a record attendance of 150,000, more than double the previous year.

Aside from the official competition, major sidebars include a retrospective on Fernando Birri, one of the first Argentinian directors to gain international renown. The Raices (Roots) section will be devoted to Italian cinema.

Other sidebars include Women and Cinema, which will be competitive for the first time this year; America Latina XXII, a selection of the best films from the region; Vidriera Argentina, a showcase of current local films; documentary showcase Ventana Documental; Point Of View, a selection of films around the world with definite viewpoints; open air screenings and Near Darkness, dedicated to bizarre films.