American actress Natalie Portman's directorial short film debut Eve will open The Venice Film Festival's Corto Cortissimo section dedicated to short films.

Portman will preside over opening events for that section onSept 1. She was featured in Venice last year in her cameo in Wes Anderson's Darjeeling Unlimited.

Portman's debut, entitled Eve, features Ben Gazzara and Lauren Bacall and is being described as a 'civilized comedy of amorous dalliances' among the older generation.

The picture will open the short film line-ups, curated by Stefano Martina and Giuliana La Volpe and selected from 1,400 films.

Other American productions in this year's shorts section include The Butcher's Shop, a melange of cinema and video-art directed by Philip Haas; 1937 co-directed by Giacomo Gatti and Francesco Carrozzini entirely set in the Chelsea Hotel in New Yorkp; and Jarred by Martin Gaiss, which will close the section, out of competition.

For the first time Corto Cortissimo will feature a Vietnamese short in competition: When I am Twenty (Khi toi 20) by filmmaker Phan Dang Di.

The Asian contingent also includes Chinese submission Mine (Wode) by Hui Liu, described as 'neo-realistic' in style. The lone Latin American submission comes with Carlos Armella's Tierra y Pan. Arnella has previously collaborated with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

Other than these titles, the bulk of the entries come from Europe with two entries each from the UK, France and Belgium.

Frances offers Christophe Loizillon's Corpus/Corpus - his return to shorts after two features and Dix an original 3D about phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder by the collective BIF.

UK offerings includes Catriona McInnes with documentary I'm in Away From Here on mental illness and Peter Thwaites' The Stars Don't Twinkle in Outer Space. Belgian works include satire The Altruists by Koen Dejaegher and Noces de Cendres by Pierre Eden Simon.

Hungary brings black comedy The Dinner by Karchi Perlmann using Budapest as a backdrop. Estonian filmmaker Tanel Toom brings a wartime drama called Second Coming (Teine Tulemine).

Scandinavian entries include Swedish short Lies (Logner) by Jonas Odell and Danish Martin De Thurah's We Who Stay Behind (Vi Der Blev Tilbage).

Swiss-Bosnian entry I Don't Dream in German (Ich Traume Nicht auf Deutsch) by Ivana Lalovic, Every Breath you Take from Slovenian Igor Sterk and Zand by Dutch director Joost van Ginkel round out the shorts selections.

Closing the edition, and underscoring the strength of the Italian films this year, four Italian non-competitive entries will be screened Sept 4. They are: Il Colore della Bassa by Giuseppe Morandi and Gianfranco Azzali, Managua Boxing by Frediana Fornari, and Un Canto Lontano by Alberto Momo, as well as the animated fiction short Alba, directed by Giorgia Farina.

US director and screenwriter Amos Poe chairs the international jury with Gianni Rondolino (Italy, film historian) and Portuguese producer Joana Vicente. Prizes in the section include Corto Cortissimo Lion for the Best Short Film, UIP Award for the Best European Short Film, and a Special Mention.