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Clooney in competition at Venice as director

Story by: Jack Foley

GEORGE Clooney is to compete with the likes of Ang Lee, Terry Gilliam and fellow actor, John Turturro, for the best director prize at this year's Venice Film Festival.

The Ocean's 12 star has submitted his second film as director, Goodnight and Good Luck, in competition for the prestigious Golden Lion award.

The film is based upon a screenplay by Clooney and Grant Heslov and stars David Strathairn in the true story of how Edward R Murrow and his producer, Fred Friendly (Clooney), helped bring an end to the House Un-American Activities Committee' anti-Communist hearings.

Using his CBS News programme, See It Now as a platform, Murrow challenged McCarthy on his claims that hundreds of avowed Communists were working covertly as Soviet spies in the US government.

The film co-stars Robert Downey Jnr, Jeff Daniels and Patricia Clarkson and is one of the front-runners for winning the prize.

It will mark Clooney's second outing as director, following the critical success of his debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

In other Venice news, it has also been confirmed that Clooney's long-time creative partner, Steven Soderbergh, will be showing his latest film, a murder mystery named Bubble, out of competition at the festival.

While Charlie and the Chocolate Factory director, Tim Burton, is to screen his latest, Corpse Bride, out of competition as well.

Commenting on the strong line-up of US movies vying for top honours at Venice, Marco Mueller, artistic director of the festival, said: "This shows how important Venice now is for American cinema."

There are 19 films in total in the main competition line-up.

Other high profile entries include Terry Gilliam's Brothers Grimm, Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, Proof starring Gwyneth Paltrow and The Constant Gardener with Ralph Fiennes.

Turturro's third film as director, Romance and Cigarettes, also makes the cut alongside films from Abel Ferrara, Patrice Chereau and Portugal's Manoel de Oliviera.

Last year's Golden Lion was won by Mike Leigh's abortion drama Vera Drake.

The 2005 festival runs from August 31 to September 10.

Related stories: Clooney talks Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Clooney's latest to close 2005 London Film Festival

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