Un Certain Regard Cannes entrant Rolf de Heer's TenCanoes is to open the 53rd Sydney Film Festival (SFF) on June 9.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have such an exciting anddistinctively Australian film open the festival," said SFF artistic directorLynden Barber in the statement.

"It is fitting that such a beautifully poetic and richlylayered film will make its international debut in Cannes, before returning toenchant audiences at the Sydney Film Festival."

The first Australian feature made entirely in an Aboriginallanguage - predominantly Ganalbingu - closed the Adelaide Arts Festival lastmonth.

Ten Canoes is set not long before the arrival ofwhite people in Australia, as well as in the mythical past, and tells the storyof a man who covets one of his older brother's wives.

It was directed by de Heer, who also produced alongsideJulie Ryan, co-directed by Peter Djigirr and written in collaboration with thecommunity of Ramingining.

The cast incudes Crusoe Kurddal and Jamie Gulpilil - son ofthe legendary David Gulpilil - whoprovides the voiceover.

Palace Films releases the film in Australia and Fandango inItaly in June. Exception-Wild Bunch is handling international sales.

With The Quiet Room in competition in 1996 and DanceMe To My Song in competition in 1998, Rolf de Heer is only the thirdAustralian director to have three features in official selection at Cannes, theothers being Bruce Beresford and Fred Schepisi.

The other Australian films in official selection this yearare the Un Certain Regard feature Suburban Mayhem, directed by PaulGoldman, and Jane Campion's The Water Diary, which is in the short filmprogramme.

Campion has had two features in competition - Sweetieand The Piano - and four shorts in Un Certain Regard, including Palmed'Or winner Peel.