John Woo, the Asian and Hollywood director and producer, will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 67th Venice International Film Festival, which will run September 1 – 11 next year.

The decision, announced today (December 21), has been made by the Biennale di Venezia, led by Paolo Baratta, at the recommendation of Venice director Marco Mueller.

The award seeks to acknowledge Woo’s contribution to the action movie genre, through his editing, staging and styling techniques both in Asia, through films such as A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and to recent hit The Battle Of Red Cliff, and Hollywood, with Broken Arrow, Face/Off and Mission Impossible 2.

The festival said: “John Woo is considered a master who has changed the language of contemporary film for generations of filmmakers: his admirers range from Martin Scorsese to Olivier Assayas, from Jonathan Demme to John Landis, Sam Raimi to Quentin Tarantino, examples of the international cult for his action scenes choreographed like a ballet, and for his radically innovative use of editing.”

Meanwhile, Venice has also announced that the Orizzonti section, created in 2004 for new trends in world cinema, will open up to short and extra-format works, inclding short films.

The section will now be expanded to include films that lasting less than an hour or more than two hours. It will pay particularly attention to work by directors, who are originally from outside the world of film.

Speaking about the changes, Baratta said: “Through the important overhaul of the Orizzonti section, the Venice Film Festival becomes the place for future forms of cinema.”

The official selection of the 67th Venice Film Festival will compise, Venezia 67, the traditional international competition, Out of Competition, Orizzonti, including open and extra-format films, and Controcampo Italiano, dedicated to local cinema. Alongside the change, the Festival’s selection committee has been renewed and for 2010 and now includes  D’Agnolo Vallan, Giorgio De Vincenti, Marie-Pierre Duhamel, Antonella Gaeta, Alberto Pezzotta amd Enrico Magrelli as the Director’s advisor.