A Gus Van Sant-directed drama about the controversial shale gas industry and an animated film about a prehistoric family featuring the voice work of Canadian Ryan Reynolds are among the first entries announced for the Berlin Film Festival.

Organizers of the 2013 Berlinale announced six films for the official competition. Thursday's announcement includes works from Chile, South Korea and Romania.

Matt Damon, Frances McDormand and John Krasinski star in Van Sant’s Promised Land, about a natural gas salesman who experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town. He represents a company involved in fracking, a technology for extracting natural gas by injecting pressurized water and chemicals into shale rock formations. The practice has raised concerns regarding its environmental impact.

Damon had considered directing the film himself, but the job ultimately went to Van Sant, with whom he worked with on Good Will Hunting. 

So far, the only other U.S. entry is the 3D animated tale The Croods, which follows a prehistoric family travelling through a magical world. It was created by co-directors Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders.

The other films announced are:  

  • Gloria, directed by Sebastián Lelio, (Chile).
  • Nobody's Daughter Haewon, directed by Hong Sangsoo, (South Korea).
  • Paradise: Hope, directed by Ulrich Seidl, (Austria, France, Germany).
  • Child's Pose, directed by Calin Peter Netzer (Romania).

French documentary filmmaker and prominent intellectual Claude Lanzmann will be honoured with the festival's Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.

Lanzmann is best known for his film Shoah (1985), a nine-and-a-half hour documentary about the genocide of European Jews that screened in the Berlinale Forum in 1986. His other films include Tsahal, about women and men who serve in the Israeli Army and Sobibor, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures, about the 1943 revolt in the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland.

A former French Resistance fighter and publisher of Les Temps Moderne, which was founded by Jean-Paul Sartre, Lanzmann was part of the circle of intellectuals who surrounded Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in the 1960s.

The Berlin Film Festival is scheduled for Feb. 7-17, 2013.