[news] Pusan film festival kicks off today

Asia's biggest film festival, The 14th Pusan International Film Festival kicks off today, with the screening of director Jang Jin's latest political comedy "Good Morning President" starring Jang Dong-gun as Korea's youngest president-elect.

The film will be screened at the outdoor theater of the Suyoungman Yacht Marina later in the evening after the film's red carpet event.

From today till Oct. 16, the regions' most lavish film-fest will invite the world to the southeastern port city.

Not only will top Korean stars like Jang Dong-gun, Lee Byung-hun, Sul Kyoung-gu, So Ji-sub, Ha Ji-won, Ha Jung-woo, Kim Yoon-jin, Han Chae-young will be attending the nine-day film extravaganza, Hollywood stars like Josh Hartnett will also be stepping onto the red carpet when his film "I come with the rain" is screened later in the week along with his co-star in the film, Kimura Takuya.

For those wanting to get closer to their favorite stars, they will be given that chance throughout the event when visiting actors and actresses take part in meet-and-greet sessions set-up at the Nampodong outdoor stage of the Haeundae Beach PIFF Village.

Tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. the PIFF Center will host open talk forums that will give fans a chance to speak to actors from the films that are in competition.

This year's PIFF has invited a record 355 films, with 144 world premieres, giving film junkies something to look forward to.

Outdoor performances have been lined-up to give visitors something to do between theater-hopping.

On Saturday at the Sooyoungman Marina, an event called "Cinematic Love" will go on until 4:00 a.m. with musical performances including Korean hip-hop star Tiger JK, continental pop superstar BoA, and J-Pop's reigning queen Amuro Namie.

On Friday and Saturday, the "HITE Dynamite Festival" will invite visitors to the Warehouse Club on the Sooyoungman Yacht Marina, where top Korean boy band Big Bang, actor-cum-DJ Ryoo Seung-bum and Mondo Grosso will perform.

Shift in Focus

At this year's PIFF, the selection of "Good Morning President" as the opening film came as a surprise. Last year's opener was an obscure Kazakh film that organizers claimed would showcase films from the Southeast and Central Asian region.

This year, organizers of Korea's biggest film festival have switched their focus to domestic films buoyed by the recent success of such local blockbusters like "Haeundae" and "Take-Off."

Organizers expect more than two million visitors to the festival which will be held at six major theaters and art houses in Busan.

The list of VIP guests includes include Bryan Singer, who produced the "X-Men" series, Italian horror maestro Dario Argento and the previously mentioned Josh Hartnett.

Hartnett, the Hollywood star of "Black Hawk Down" (2001), is making his visit at the invitation of Korean actor Lee Byung-hun, according to organizers. The two, along with Japanese actor Takuya Kimura, starred in "I Come With the Rain," directed by French-Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran. The movie is one of this year's entries in the PIFF's only competition category, the New Current Award.

Closing the event will be "The Message," a much anticipated film about communists fighting against Japanese invaders.

source: korea herald

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