Locarno drafts anime for opener

Selection of Sori's 'Vexille' is departure for 60th fest

The world premiere of Fumihiko Sori's animated film "Vexille" will open the 60th annual Locarno International Film Festival on Aug. 1, organizers said Wednesday, ushering in a program that includes a host of Hollywood films and projects from up-and-coming international directors.

The selection of the anime title — about a female agent investigating the development of prohibited robotic technologies — represents a departure from last year's opening film, "Miami Vice." But second-year artistic director Frederic Maire is hardly avoiding Hollywood fare.

Slated for world or European premieres in Locarno's famous Piazza Grande are "Planet Terror" and "1408" from the Weinstein Co., "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "Knocked Up" from Universal, "Waitress" from Fox Searchlight and "Hairspray" from New Line Cinema.

The Franco-American co- production "Winners and Losers," Polish director Lech Kowalski's 2006 World Cup documentary told from the perspective of the spectators, will close the festival Aug. 11.

Hong Kong's "The Drummer," starring Jaycee Chan, son of action icon Jackie Chan, also will screen in the Piazza Grande, along with the Brett Morgen documentary "Chicago 10," about the violence-ridden 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Among the top-shelf Hollywood talent expected to attend the lakeside festival are Anthony Hopkins and Christian Slater, co-stars in the competition comedy "Slipstream." The film represents Hopkins' third directorial effort and first writing credit.

The only other U.S. film in competition is "Joshua" from George Ratliff. Other significant competition titles include "Sooner or Later," from German director Ulrike von Ribbeck, British director Jim Threapleton's "Extraordinary Rendition" and "Boys of Tomorrow," from South Korea's Noh Dong-seok.

In all, 19 films will screen in competition, including 15 world premieres and four international premieres. Seven of the films are the first full-length features for their directors.

A complete Locarno competition lineup can be found at www.hollywoodreporter.com.