Next month's Jerusalem Film Festival has finally opted for Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as the opening night film after long deliberations.
Lee is to attend the festival's 17th edition, which runs July 13-23, for the film's first screening after Cannes. The guest list also includes Kirk Douglas, German directors Volker Schloendorff and Wim Wenders, producer James Shamus, Hungarian director Istvan Szabo, and Polish actor-director Jerzy Stuhr.
Amongst the titles confirmed for the country's leading cinema event are last year's Palme d'Or winner Rosetta and Rotterdam's Japanese hit Audition. Fresh from Cannes are Eureka, Fast Food, Fast Women, Code Inconnu and Blackboards.
The other contender for opening film was the Coen brothers' Cannes entry O Brother, Where Art Thou'. But the quirky comedy did not make it because the Coens have opened the Jerusalem event twice before with The Hudsucker Proxy and The Big Lebowsky because they declined to attend.
Other guests confirmed are Ricky Tognazzi from Italy, Nuri Bilge Ceylan from Turkey, Suzanna Bier from Denmark and Michael Cacoyannis from Greece.
Although officially non-competitive, the festival will present awards including the Wolgin Prize for best feature and best documentary. Other prizes include awards for TV productions, short films and an award unique to the festival titled the Spirit of Freedom prize. Documentaries, home-made and imported, constitute a large part of this year's program, possibly to hit back at the recent competition of Doc Aviv, a documentary festival taking place in Tel Aviv in the spring.