For the first time in Venice's history, all 21 films in competition will be world premieres.
"This year we can be really happy as all the films we wanted in Venice are here," artistic director Marco Mueller said at a press conference in Rome.
With new competition from the upcoming Rome Film Festival looming in the background, Mueller underlined Venice's continued popularity among international producers and sales agents. He said the number of films viewed by the selection committed had actually risen this year to 1,429 from 1,100.
"Many producers and sales agents know that only Venice can offer a film something beyond just a launching-pad. Venice allows a film to have special visibility," he said.
Biennale president Davide Croff said private sponsorship had risen 40% this year.
62 films are screening in the official selection.
Competition slots were particularly prized this year. In the past, US producers have often targeted out-of-competition slot for a less pressurized environment, but this year most US films will actually be playing in competition.
Out of the 13 US films in Venice, 9 are in competition, including Aronofsky's The Fountain with Rachel Weisz, Allen Coulter's Hollywoodland with Adrien Brody and Ben Affleck and Estevez's Bobby with Sharon Stone and Anthony Hopkins.
Highlighting the trend, Mueller said Brian De Palma has asked for his Venice opener, The Black Dahlia, to be in competition. Traditionally, opening films play out-of-competition.
Orizzonti, the Venice competition dedicated to experimental films, will premiere Ethan Hawke's The Hottest State and Shinji Aoyama's Koorogi. The Orizzonti Doc section includes documentaries by Spike Lee (When the Levees Broke. A Requiem in Four Acts) and Edgar Reitz's Heimat - Fragmente.
Out of competition films include David Lynch's Inland Empire, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center and Devil Wears Prada.
In terms of geography, the 63rd Venice festival marks one of the most wide-ranging editions, with films coming from a 27 countries. Chad (Daratt) and Thailand (Sang sattawat) both have films in competition for the first time.
Italy has 10 films in the official selection, including two in competition: Gianni Amelio's The Missing Star and Emanuele Crialese's Nuovomondo (The Golden Door).
Japan has six films in Venice, including two in the main competition. France has four films, including two in the main competition: Benoit Jacquot's L'Intouchable and Alain Resnais' Private Fears In Public Places.
There are 11 debut features from 11 countries, all set to compete for the Lion of the Future award, which offers a Euros 100,000 prize to the best first film. First features include animation film Gedo Senki by Hayao Miyazaki's son, Goro.
The festival's closing film will be Russian director Pavel Lounguine's Ostrov.
OPENING FILM: THE BLACK DAHLIA
Dir: Brian De Palma
USA - 120'
Main cast: Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Mia Kirshner,Mike Starr, Fiona Shaw
Dir: Barbara Albert
LA STELLA CHE NON C'È
Dir: Gianni Amelio
Main cast: Sergio Castellitto, Tai Ling
Dir: Darren Aronofsky
USA - 96'
Main cast: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz
Dir: Allen Coulter
THE GOLDEN DOOR
Dir: Emanuele Crialese
Main cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, VincenzoAmato, Francesco Casisa
CHILDREN OF MEN
Dir: Alfonso Cuaron
Main cast: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine
Dir: Emilio Estevez
Dir: Stephen Frears
Main cast: Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen
Dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun Ciad
Main cast: Ali Barkai, Youssouf Djoro, Hisseine Aziza
Dir: Benoît Jacquot
Dir: Satoshi Kon
Japan - 90'
NUE PROPRI -T -
Dir: Joachim Lafosse
Main cast: Isabelle Huppert, Jeremie Renier, Yannick Renier
Dir: Katsuhiro Otomo
PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES
Dir: Alain Resnais
France, Italy - 120'
Main cast: Lambert Wilson, Sabine Azema, Andre Dussollier, Laura Morante, PierreArditi, Isabelle Carre
QUEI LORO INCONTRI
Dir: Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
Dir: Johnnie To
I DON'T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE
Dir: Tsai Ming-liang
Main cast: Kang-Sheng Lee, Shiang-Chyi Chen, Atun Norman
Dir: Paul Verhoeven
Netherlands, Germany, UK - 135'
Main cast: Carice van Houten,Thom Hoffman, Sebastian Koch, Halina Reijn
Dir: Ivan Vyrypaev
SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY
Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Main cast: Nantarat Sawaddikul,Jaruchai Iamaram, Sophon Pukanok, Jenjira Pongpas
OUT OF COMPETITION
QUELQUES JOURS EN SEPTEMBRE
Main cast: Juliette Binoche,John Turturro, Sara Forestier,Nick Nolte
THE MAGIC FLUTE
Dir: Kenneth Branagh
Dir: Feng Xiaogang
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
Dir: David Frenkel
Dir: David Lynch
Main cast: Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, Julia Ormond
TALES FROM EARTHSEA
Dir: Goro Miyazaki
Japan - 115'
Dir: Manoelde Oliveira
Portugal - 68'
Main cast: Michel Piccoli, BulleOgier
WORLD TRADE CENTER
USA - 129'
Main cast: Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maggie Gyllenhaal,Maria Bello
OUT OF COMPETITION - MIDNIGHT
Dir: Benny Chan
Main cast: Jackie Chan, Louis Koo, MichaelHui
BAAZ HAM SIB DAARI'
Dir: Bayram Fazli
Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
THE WICKER MAN
Dir: Neil Labute
Dir: Ryoo Seung-wan
Main cast: Ahn Jae-mo, Ahn Kil-Kang, JeongSeok-yong, Jo Deok-hyeon
OUT OF COMPETITION - SPECIAL EVENT
LETTERE DAL SAHARA
Dir: VittorioDe Seta
Italy - 123'
Main cast: Djbril Kebe,Paola Ajmone Rondo
Dir: Shinji Aoyama
Japan - 102'
Main cast: Suzuki Kyoka, Yamazaki Tsutomu
THE HOTTEST STATE
Dir: Ethan Hawke
US - 117'
Dir: Ho Yuhang
Main cast: Kuan Choon Wai, Liu Wai Hung, Yasmin Ahmad, Cheung Wing Hong
Dir: Boris Khlebnikov
Dir: Paul Leduc
Main cast: Peter Fonda, Antonella Costa, Dolores Heredia,Jesus Ochoa
MABEI SHANG DE FATING
Dir: Liu Jie
Dir: Douglas McGrath
US - 118'
NON PRENDRE IMPEGNI STASERA
Main cast: SamiraKaddour, Rachid Amrani
ANA ALATI TAHMOL AZOUHOUR ILA QABRIHA
Dirs: Hala AllabdallaYakoub, Ammar Al Beik
Siria, France - 110'
Dir: Giovanna Gagliardo
Italy - 180'
Dir: Jia Zhangke
China - 63'
THE US Vs JOHN LENNON
Dirs: David Leaf, John Scheinfeld
US - 99'
WHEN THE LEEVES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS
Dir: Spike Lee
US - 240'
Dir: Mamoru Oshii
Japan - 104'
HEIMAT - FRAGMENTE
Dirs: Edgar Reitz, Christian Reitz
Germany - 145'