Quebec director Denis Villeneuve's highly anticipated Blade Runner sequel will open Montreal's Festival du nouveau cinéma.
Blade Runner 2049 will be presented at a special Oct. 4 screening, a day after its world premiere in Los Angeles and two days before it hits theatres, organizers said Thursday.
It will screen at the Théâtre Maisonneuve de la Place des Arts as the opening film of the festival's 46th edition, which runs from Oct. 4 to 15.
"We are now the only festival in the world to obtain the authorization to screen it," festival director Nicolas Girard Deltruc said in a phone interview.
"It's very important. . . . I think it's proof that we are an important film festival."
Villeneuve directed Blade Runner with a script from Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. Ridley Scott, director of the original film, is an executive producer on the sequel.
The latest instalment is set 30 years after the events of the first sci-fi film from 1982.
Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard, a former police operative who's been missing for decades. Ryan Gosling of London, Ont., plays an L.A. police officer.
Other cast members include Robin Wright, Jared Leto and Vancouver native Mackenzie Davis.
Important for Villeneuve to be in Montreal and Quebec
Deltruc said the festival, known as FNC, has been trying to secure the film since March or April. It was one of several festivals trying to get it.
"It was a lot of ping-pong with the studio, with Denis. I think the festival is very important for him," said Deltruc, noting Villeneuve has been to the showcase many times.
"We've followed him since the beginning of his career. It's also I think important for him to show to Montreal and to Quebec that he's still there, even if he's working in Los Angeles."
Deltruc said he wasn't sure if Villeneuve or the cast would attend the screening.
Villeneuve has said making the sequel was the most intense experience of his life, with a challenging shoot in Budapest and much fan fervour.
"The level of expectation behind this movie is huge and everybody is waiting for the movie with open arms — or with a baseball bat," he said with a laugh in a January interview with The Canadian Press.
"The expectations are for obvious reasons: The first movie was a masterpiece and it's a very risky, challenging project. But I will say that it has been the most rewarding and exciting experience of my life so far and I'm excited."
The sequel has the same tone as the original film, he added.
"The first movie was a film noir, quite intense with melancholia and an existential crisis, so we are not far away from the thematics of the first movie, I will say," said Villeneuve. "It's the same genre, the same atmosphere."