The 44th New York FilmFestival will open on Sept 29 with the North American premiere of StephenFrears' drama The Queen starringHelen Mirren as the current British monarch Elizabeth II (pictured) in the immediate aftermath of Princess Diana's death.

The status and timing of the premiere suggests the picture is a shoo-in for a world premiere at Venice, which runs from Aug 30-Sept 9, however sources at international rightsholder Pathe were unreachable at time of writing. Miramax Films will release the picture in theUS in October.

Events in The Queen take placeshortly after the death of the now-iconic Princess Diana, as the monarch and her family rally against a backdrop of unprecedented national mourning.

Co-starring alongside Mirren - who won recent acclaim in the US for her portrayal of the Queen Elizabeth I in the eponymous Channel 4/HBO mini-series - are Jame Cromwell as Prince Phillip, Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and Sylvia Syms as the Queen Mother.

"Helen Mirren gives a stunning performance leading an exceptional cast,"Miramax president Daniel Battsek said. "The film provides a fascinating behind-the-sceneslook into the royal family's distanced and initially puzzling response toPrincess Diana's death."

Peter Morgan wrote the screenplay and Andy Harries, Christine Langan and TraceySeaward produced. Scott Rudin, Francois Ivernel, and Cameron McCracken servedas executive producers.

The 44th New York Film Festival is set to run from Sept 29-Oct 15. For moredetails visit the official website at