La Biennale di Venezia 2011 (aka the 2011 Venice Film Festival) announced its 68th round of selections today and a long absent American filmmaker is making his long awaited return.

Whit Stillman, who is known for the indie classic "Metropolitan," "Barcelona" and "the Last Days of Disco," will debut his first film in 13 years, "Damsels in Distress." The comedy stars Gerta Gerwig and Adam Brody and will play out of competition as the festival's closing night film on Sept. 10.

As expected, Al Pacino's "Wild Salome," Madonna's "W.E" and Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion" will also premiere out of competition. 

The films competing for the Golden Lion this year pretty much lined up to the leaked list earlier this week.  Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights," Ami Cannan Mann's "Texas Killing Fields," Cristina Comencini's "Quando La Notte," Emanuele Crialese's "Terraferma," David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," Abel Ferrara's "4:44 Last Day on Earth," William Friedkin's "Killer Joe," Philippe Garrel's "Un ete Brulant," Ann Hui's "Taojie (A Simple Life)," Eran Kolirin's "Hahithalfut (The Exhchange)," Yorgos Lanthimos' "Alps," Steve McQueen's "Shame," Gian Alfonso Pacinotti's "L'Ultimo Terrerstre," Roman Polanski's "Carnage," Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnauld's "Poulet Aux Prunes," Aleksander Sokurov's "Faust," Todd Solondz' "Dark Horse," Sion Sono's "Himizu" and Te-Sheng Wei's "Seediq Bale."

Many of those pictures will also find their way to the Toronto, Telluride and New York Film Festivals over the coming months.

As for other American films, James Franco's "Sal" will debut in the new trends in world cinema selections as will Jonathan Demme's documentary "I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful."

The 2011 Venice Film Festival begins on August 31 and ends on Sept. 10.  The opening night film was previously announced as George Clooney's "The Ides of March" with Clooney, Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. 

Look for complete coverage of the competing Venice festivals, Telluride and Toronto, on HitFix over the next month and during the annual kick-off for awards season.

For year round entertainment commentary and awards season news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.