Just one day before theVenice Film Festival announces its line-up (Tuesday), one of the most eagerly-awaited world premieres, Theo Angelopoulos' Dust of Time has been pulled from the selection.

The decision by the Greek auteur and his producers came after screenings slots could not be found that would have allowed leading actorsin the film to be present at the premiere. The film stars Willem Dafoe, Irene Jacob and Bruno Ganz.

Dust of Time - the latest offering from the director of 1998 Palme d'Or winner Eternity AndA Day -was to be shown in an out-of-competition
slot in Venice after it missed Cannes last May due to delays in post production.

Talking to ScreenDaily.com, Angelopoulos said: 'Jacob is performing in a theatre play and Dafoe, who is shooting, made it clear that film could have a break to be present only at two specific dates.

'Marco Mueller tried his best to accommodate things but it was not possible. We are sad we have to miss Venice but we could not possibly have the world premiere of the film without the presence of its stars.'

Angelopoulos enjoys a long-standing and rewarding relationship with the
festival where he was awarded a Golden Lion in 1980 for Megalexandros and a Silver Lion in 1988 for Landscape in the Mist. Those wins led him to opt this time for an out-of-competition slot.

Dust of Time is the second part of a trilogy which began in 2004 with The Weeping Meadow. The trilogy follows a couple through the historic events of the last century.

The arduous four-month shoot started in 2007 with locations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada, the US, Germany, Italy and Greece.

Angelopoulos produced and directed out of his own script. Co-producing partners in the $13m (Euros 8.3m) budget include German Claudia Popsel's Licht Meer, Russian Studio 217, plus such long time co-producers as Italian Amedeo Pagani's Classic Films and French Erik Hyman's Paradis Films.

Backing came from Eurimages. Greek co-production partners include the Greek Film Centre, Public TV ERT, private NOVA TV and local distributor Audiovisual. Michael Weber's Match Factory handles world sales.

Neither Angelopoulos or his producers would comment on future plans concerning the world premiere of the film.

It seems though that if a decision is reached for Dust Of Time to launch at a prestigious world film festival, then Toronto is an option or more likely Berlin in February 2009.

The presence of a German co-producer and a German sales agent plus the shooting in Germany could well pave the way towards the Berlin event in a non-competition presentation.