Ron Mann is Canada's only representative at the world's oldest film festival. His highly-anticipated documentary, Altman, is the single Canadian film selected to screen at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival.

The annual exposition kicked off Wednesday with the world premiere of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu​'s Birdman

Mann's 95-minute portrait of Robert Altman offers an intimate glimpse into the life of the legendary American filmmaker — a man whose cinematic achievements include classics such as M*A*SH, The Player, and Gosford Park.

ALTMAN TRAILER from filmswelike on Vimeo.

Altman, however, isn't in the 19-film race for the festival's coveted Golden Lion prize​. It will screen out of competition in the festival's classics section, which for Mann is where the film belongs.

"It's really the first film festival for this film and I think it's the right place, for sure," he said.

Robert Altman

Director Robert Altman, seen here in a portrait for the 2006 Sarasota Film Festival in Florida, died later that year in Los Angeles. He was 81. (Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

Altman's wife, Katheryn, co-produced the film. According to Mann, she's the only critic whose opinion really matters.

"There's a tremendous responsibility for representing someone else's art," Mann explained.

"When I showed Kathryn the film, she went through a box of tissues. She loved the film. For me, that was the most important thing."

The 71st Venice International Film Festival runs through Sept. 6.

A retrospective of Robert Altman's work runs through Aug. 31 at TIFF Cinematheque.