PaulVerhoeven's long-awaited Black Book has been named as the official Netherlands entry for the Best ForeignLanguage Film Academy Award.

The filmwill have its world premiere Sept 1 at the 63rd Venice FilmFestival, where it is screening in competition.

The$21.8m (£17m) wartime thriller is the most expensive predominantly Dutch-languageproduction ever made and tells the story of a Jewish girl (Dutch actress Carice van Houten) who joins the Dutchresistance to find out who betrayed her family. Black Book is Verhoeven's first featurein six years and his first European film in more than two decades. The film isa renewed collaboration between Verhoeven and hisregular Dutch scriptwriter Gerard Soeteman, whopreviously worked on Turkish Delight, Soldierof Orange and Flesh + Blood.

Black Book has been set up as aDutch/German/UK co-production between Fu Works, Hector Films (Netherlands), Motel Films (Netherlands), EgoliTossell Film (Germany) and Clockwork Pictures(UK). The film's distribution rights (available through ContentFilm)have already been pre-sold to 50 countries, including to Pathefor France and Switzerland, to Tartan in the UK, to Happinetin Japan, to Nordisk in Scandinavia, to Consorcio Europa in Brazil, to PtAmero Mitra in Indonesia, toUmut Sanat in Turkey and toGolden Scene in Hong Kong.

ProducerSan Fu Maltha claims there is a lot of interest fromAmerican distributors, but no deals have been closed yet. The cast is led byDutch film star Van Houten, HalinaReijn and Dutch actors Thom Hoffman, Peter Blok and Derek de Lint. The lead German parts are played bySebastian Koch, Christian Berkel and Waldemar Kobus.