- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

VENICE, ITALY (AP) - The Venice Film Festival is getting more exclusive.

Festival director Alberto Barbera trimmed the number of movies premiering at the world’s oldest film festival to include just 18 competition entries vying for the top Golden Lion prize.

The lineup is heavy on auteur favorites like Terrence Malick, who premieres `’To The Wonder” on Sunday and Paul Thomas Anderson, who travels to the Lido with `’The Master.” Both are coups for Barbera, who returned this year to the festival he directed from 1998-2002.

In recent years, as many as 24 films competed with well over 100 screening in side events. Barbera says the trimmed selection allows better promotion of the films. He also launched the festival’s first market to give them a commercial push.

The festival begins Wednesday and runs until Sept. 8.