VENICE, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Some 73 feature films, of which 21 are competing for the Golden Lion award, plus 16 short films and 31 projects of virtual reality, are expected to be viewed by film fans at this year's International Venice Film Festival.
These are some of the figures marking the 2017 edition of the festival, which is ready to kick off on Venice's Lido island Wednesday.
Surrounded by tight security measures, fans started to crowd outside the main venues of the event to watch the first celebrities' arrivals. Inside the festival village, the last preparations were being made.
Running from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9 this year, the festival will open with the screening of "Downsizing" by U.S. director Alexander Payne, featuring American actor Matt Damon in the role of a man who decides to shrink himself in order to have a better life.
Other films possibly contending for the Golden Lion included horror movie "Mother!" by Darren Aranofsky -- director of the 2010 acclaimed film "Black Swan" -- starring Jennifer Lawrence, Michele Pfeiffer, and Javier Bardem; and "The Shape of Water" by Mexican author Guillermo Del Toro.
Chinese director Vivian Qu will also vie for this year's Golden Lion with drama "Angels Wear White" telling the story of two schoolgirls assaulted by a middle-aged man in a small town by the sea.
George Clooney's dark-comedy "Suburbicon" will be another major contender. The film -- written by the famed American Coen brothers -- focuses on a middle-class man living in an American suburb in the 1950s, who turned aggressive after his home was invaded by a violent mob and his wife was killed.
Here again, Matt Damon plays the main character, accompanied by Julianne Moore in the role of his sister.
Overall, the 2017 Venice Film Festival will feature 21 world premieres in the main competition, 22 movies out of the competition -- including eight documentaries and two medium-length films -- and another 19 in the Horizons international section devoted to new cinema trends.
The international jury conferring the Golden Lion for the best film -- and other official awards -- will be led this year by American actress Annette Bening.