Academy Award winner Ang Lee hit the red carpet on the opening night of the New York Film Festival on Friday night, kick starting the film fest with his latest film, The Life of Pi.

The film, based upon the Yann Martel novel of the same name, explores the life of an India boy named Pi who spends 227 days at sea with his only company being a Bengal tiger, spotted hyena, a zebra and an orang-utan, after becoming shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean. The book, often considered to be un-filmable, explores deep strands of spiritual understanding and reason; something that Ang has tried to recreate on the screen. The film has been a massive undertaking and was shot entirely in 3D as director Lee believed that this method was the only way in which the vibrancy of the novel could be fully expressed on screen. It is thought to have cost up to $100million and took close to four years to make.

Speaking to reporters at the premier, Lee said that he had envisaged the project as soon as he read it back in 2001 and allegedly already agreed to make the film in 3D before James Cameron's Avatar was released in 2009.

Indian actor Suraj Sharma will take on the role of Pi in what is his first movie appearance. The film will also feature Gerard Depardieu and Slumdog Millionaire actor Irrfan Khan as the adult version of Pi.