BUSAN: Asia’s largest film festival opened its doors on Thursday for 10 days of screenings that will highlight the region’s young talent and its rich heritage.
Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien and other legendary Asian filmmakers are among those celebrating the Busan International Film Festival’s 20th year.
Movie stars including Jeon Do-yeon, the winner of the 2007 Cannes Best Actress award, Korean heartthrob Jung Woo-sung, and Chinese actress Tang Wei were among those who impressed crowds along the red carpet.
Hundreds of people, many wearing rain-gear, packed the Busan Cinema Center for the opening ceremony despite heavy wind warnings triggered by Typhoon Dujuan.
While many stars and veteran filmmakers are attending, much of the spotlight is being focused on budding Asian directors.
The opening film was an Indian coming-of-age musical drama, “Zubaan,” directed by Mozez Singh. The movie, Singh’s debut feature, is about a man who is obsessed with success until he sets on a journey to find his true fate through music.
Co-producer Shaan Vyas described the work as “a mainstream film in Bollywood with songs but without the cliches.”
Executive programmer Kim Jiseok said the festival’s organizers selected the Bollywood film hoping it would allow the audience to reflect on what South Korean society may have lost in its pursuit of wealth and success.
This year, a veteran South Korean actor and an Afghanistan actress shared the hosting of the opening ceremony.
Song Kang-ho, the star of “Snowpiercer,” and Marina Golbarhari, who returned to Busan for the first time since her 2003 role in “Osama,” shared the spotlight on stage.
The festival also celebrates the rich tradition of Asian cinema and the region’s growing clout in the global film industry.
Prestigious Japanese animator Studio Ghibli received the 2015 Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award for its contribution to the development of the Asian film industry and Asian culture.
Wieland Speck, director of the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival, will take home the Korean Cinema Award. The Panorama section has introduced dozens of Korean movies in Europe.
After screening about 300 movies from 75 countries, the festival will close on Oct. 10 with the Chinese drama “Mountain Cry” by Larry Yang.