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The Globe and Mail

Barney's Version world premiere to take place in Italy

A scene from Barney's Version

The world premiere of Barney's Version, the long-in-the works Canadian feature, will take place at the Venice International Film Festival in September, rather than the Toronto International Film Festival, The Globe and Mail has learned.

It's the first time in a dozen years - not since François Girard's The Red Violin in 1998 - that a Canadian feature has screened in competition in Venice. Based on Mordecai Richler's award-winning comic novel, the film follows the life of the irascible, but lovable, Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) and his three failed marriages. All of which end badly, but for completely different reasons.

Earlier it was also announced that Barney's Version, from Toronto producer Robert Lantos, would have its North American gala premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. He opted not to have the world premiere in Toronto given that TIFF's opening night falls on Rosh Hashanah.

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Indiewire.com reported that Lantos chose to have the movie's world premiere in Venice and noted that "many producers do not consider opening night to be a prime slot for a film looking for a distributor."

Lantos's Serendipity Point Films would not comment yesterday.

Barney's Version, shot primarily in Rome and Montreal and its outskirts, has an all-star cast including Dustin Hoffman (who plays Barney's father), and Rachelle Lefevre, Minnie Driver and Rosamund Pike as the three wives. Barney's best friend, Boogie, is played by Torontonian Scott Speedman.

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