Director Francis Lawrence's Hollywood romantic drama Water for Elephants will be the opening film in the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival starting on Saturday, said organizers.

With 16 films in competition for the main prize, the Golden Goblet, the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) will kick start at the Shanghai Grand Theater. The SIFF will run until June 19 and will screen 200 films in 24 cinemas around the city.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng, Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon and fellow American screen actors Matt Dillon and Mischa Barton will be among the top-line guests of the festival.

Rain Man director Barry Levinson will head the jury panel for the Golden Goblet Award. Members include British film maker and scriptwriter Christopher Hampton, Japanese director Yoichi Sai, Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung, Spanish actress Paz Vega, Chinese film director Wang Quan'an and Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu. Shunji Iwai will lead the jury panel for the Asian New Talent Award.

A short-list of 16 films have been chosen for the awards, including Turkish director Orhan Oguz's Hayde Bre, German film maker Andi Rogenhagen's Alive and Ticking, Japanese director Fumihiko Sori's Tomorrow's Joe, Russian director Yevgeni Serov's Hydraulics and three Chinese productions - Mr. Tree by Han Jie, Rest On Your Shoulder by Jacob Zhang and Zhang Ming's The Young Man Sings Folk Songs In the Opposite Door.

Nine films are competing for the Asian New Talent Award. The films include Japanese production Kaasan Mom's Life, Philippine picture Rosario, Iranian film The Day Goes and the Night Comes and China's Return Ticket, among others.

In 2010, China's cinema earnings grew 63.9 percent to a total of 10.1 billion yuan ($1.5 billion).