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Allen's 'To Rome With Love' to open L.A. film fest

By Steve Pond

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love" will serve as the opening night film at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival, LAFF organizers announced on Thursday.

The Sony Pictures Classics comedy, which features an ensemble cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page and Allen, will have its North American premiere at the festival.

Its world premiere takes place this month in Italy.

Allen's last film, "Midnight in Paris," was launched at last year's Cannes Film Festival. The film received a Best Picture nomination, won Allen an Oscar for his screenplay and became the top-grossing film of the writer-director's career, with more than $56 million at the U.S. box office and nearly $150 million worldwide.

"I can't think of a better way to kick off this year's festival than with the original independent filmmaker himself, Woody Allen," said festival director Stephanie Allain in a press release announcing the selection.

The release did not say whether the famously reticent Allen would make the trip to Los Angeles for the premiere.

Last year, the festival kicked off with Richard Linklater's "Bernie," which will finally receive a limited release later this month. Two years ago, LAFF's opening-night film was Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right," which went on to receive a Best Picture nomination.

"To Rome With Love" was formerly titled "The Bop Decameron" and then "Nero Fiddled," before switching to a title more in the vein of "Midnight in Paris."

The film will launch LAFF on June 14. The festival, which is produced by Film Independent, will continue through June 24 in downtown Los Angeles, with most screenings taking place in the L.A. LIVE complex.

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