La La Land director Damien Chazelle's new flick to open Venice festival

Damien Chazelle poses with his Best Director Oscar for the film La La Land.
Damien Chazelle poses with his Best Director Oscar for the film La La Land. PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - First Man the hotly-awaited new film from Damien Chazelle - Oscar-winning director of La La Land - will kick off the 2018 Venice Film Festival, organisers announced on Thursday (July 19).

Chazelle's latest movie follows the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong in the years leading up to 1969, when he became the first man to walk on the moon.

"It is a personal, fascinating and original work... which confirms the great talent of one of the most important American directors of today," said Alberto Barbera director of the festival, quoted in a statement.

Following the success of Hollywood musical La La Land, which scooped six Oscars in 2017, First Man sees Chazelle team up once again with Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling, who plays the role of Armstrong.

Based on a book by James R. Hansen - the flick was written by US writer Josh Singer, who also won an Oscar for the screenplay of the 2015 drama Spotlight.

Chazelle said it was an "honour" to be invited back to the prestigious festival where La La Land was also presented two years ago.

The star-studded event kicks off on the Aug 29 and its full programme is due to be unveiled next week.

In April, organisers announced they would be honouring Canadian director David Cronenberg with its Golden Lion prize for Lifetime Achievement.