Life of Pi, the film by Ang Lee based on Canadian writer Yann Martel’s prize-winning novel, is to open the New York Film Festival in September.

It will have its world premiere on Sept. 28 in New York, the first 3D movie ever chosen to open the festival.

It’s the second time a film by Lee has kicked off the film festival, now in its 50th edition – his The Ice Storm was the opening night film in 1997.

Martel won the Man Booker Prize in 2002 for Life of Pi, the story of a boy marooned on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.

Combining a menagerie of animals and several layers of metaphor, the novel was considered unfilmable until Lee took it on. The Taiwanese director has credits such as Lust, Caution, Brokeback Mountain and Sense and Sensibility.

Life of Pi is a perfect combination of technological innovation and a strong artistic vision," said Richard Pena, program director for the NYFF. "Ang Lee has managed to make a deeply moving, engrossing work that will delight audiences as much as it will astonish them."

The New York Film Festival runs Sept. 28 to Oct. 14. The Film Society earlier announced that Robert Zemeckis' Flight will close the festival.

Life of Pi heads gets its commercial release Nov. 21.