The 19th edition of the Stockholm International Film Festival has unveiled its 2008 programme, screening more than 170 films from 40 countries.

'And we are keeping up the momentum,' explained festival director Git Scheynius at today's (Oct 22) press conference in Stockholm; 'no less than a third of the entries are made by newcomers.'

This year's festival is dedicated to the late US director Sydney Pollack, and will also honour UK-French actress Charlotte Rampling. At the festival with her latest film The Duchess, Rampling will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Chinese director Wong Kar-wai, in town with his Ashes of Time Redux, will receive with Stockholm's Visionary Award.

Open to directors with no more than three works behind them, the international competition comprises 20 contenders. These include Courtney Hunt's Frozen River, Steven McQueen's Hunger and Yu Lik-wai's Plastic City. Baz Luhrmann, Takeshi Kitano, Oliver Stone, Steven Soderbergh and Clint Eastwood are also represented in the programme.

The festival will be opened by former Visionary Award winner Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler. The film appears in the section of American Independents section with Stone's W. and Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married.

Kitano's Achilles and the Tortoise spearheads the sidebar of Asian Images.

There will also be a special focus on Russia, with such titles as Aleksei German Jr's Venice-awarded Paper Soldier and Valeriya Gai Germanika's Everybody Dies But Me. A record number of nine films by Swedish directors will screen, including Mans Marlind and Björn Stein's Hollywood-produced horror-thriller, Shelter.

The 19th Stockholm International Film Festival runs from November 20-30.