By Adam B. Vary
Updated August 13, 2012 at 07:36 PM EDT
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Life of Pi, director Ang Lee’s 3-D adaptation of Yann Martel’s bestselling novel about a young man (newcomer Suraj Sharma) lost at sea with a Bengal tiger, will open the 50th New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Monday. The premiere on Sept. 28 will be well in advance of the film’s nationwide Nov. 21 debut, giving the film a jump start on awards season.

Lee’s been something of a mainstay at the New York Film Festival over his career; his film The Ice Storm opened the festival in 1997, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon closed it in 2000. Costarring Irrfan Khan, and Gérard Depardieu, Life of Pi has been one of the buzziest films of the year after footage screened for exhibitors at CinemaCon in March to wide acclaim.

The New York Film Festival will run at Lincoln Center from Sept. 28 through Oct. 14, when Robert Zemeckis’ Flight will premiere as the closing night film.

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