The 51st Cork Film Festivalwill open on Oct 8 with Toronto Fipresci Critics Award winner Death Of A President, the Channel 4-financed drama which imaginesthe assasination of George W Bush.

"We are delighted to havesecured the European premiere of Death Of A President,' said Cork Film Festival DirectorMick Hannigan. 'This is urgent, important cinema, raising vital questionsabout politics and the mass media, about liberty and democracy. It confirms theimportance of cinema as a means of making sense of the world. For us it is theperfect opening film."

The film also has Irish ties, with Irish producer Ed Guiney noting that Cork has previously supported his project including Disco Pigs and The Magdalene Sisters.

This year's featureprogramme at Cork has numerous award-winning films from Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Venice and Toronto. Former Cork short film prize-winner Andrea Arnold is back withher feature debut, Red Road, which also has an Irish producer in CarrieComerford.

Other gala screeningsinclude Allen Coulter's Hollywoodland,Rolf de Heer's Ten Canoes, RidleyScott's A Good Year, Mira Nair's The Namesake and Denis Dercourt's The Page Turner. There is a worlddocumentary section and many short programmes, with competitions for Best IrishShort and Best International Short. The latter category received 2,500 entries,of which 80 films are being screened in ten programmes.

The festival closes on Oct 15with Sofia Coppola's light take on the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette.