The directorial debut by veteran Hollywood screenwriter John August is among the seven films selected for the International Critics' Week program, which will be held during the upcoming Venice Film Festival. The Nines had its world premiere at Sundance early this year and was subsequently picked up by Newmarket Films for U.S. release and GreeneStreet for international. Ryan Reynolds and Hope Davis star in what's been described as "a compelling blur of reality, science fiction and metaphysical fantasy." A fall release is expected.

The program is composed entirely of first features, so it would seem to be a good scouting ground for new talent. Last year the Critics' Week Prize was awarded to Dito Montiel's A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, which didn't strike Cinematical's James Rocchi as either new or very talented, so obviously opinions will differ. Still, I'm curious to see the closing night feature, Jónas Cuarón's Year of the Nail. It's "a thoughtful, tender but quite hip look at two young people with too much separating them for a match to ever be possible," according to Robert Koehler's Variety review. Koehler thought distributors and film festivals looking for new voices "should come a courting," so maybe it will secure additional exposure for the first film by the son of Alfonso Cuarón.

As with scripter John August, other experienced industry professionals have moved into the director's chair. Veteran French actor Jalil Lespert is represented by 24 Measures (pictured). Set on Christmas Eve, it's a drama about "four young people that were never meant to meet." Long-time assistant director Andrea Molaioli gets his shot with The Girl in the Lake, a thriller about a possible serial killer preying upon young people. International Critics Week will take place between August 30 and September 8; Cinematical will be on the scene in Venice.