By Kim Tae-jong
HONG KONG _ Rain
shone in yesterday's gala event for the Hong Kong International Film Festival. But he was not the only one who sparkled the festival.
The city was in a big festive mood thanks to many international stars who stepped onto the red carpet into the main venue. They included French director Luc Besson, Japanese idol stars Hirosue Ryoko and Abe Hiroshi and Korean actor Lee Byung-hun
The film festival opened yesterday with two films _ the Hong Kong movie, "Eye in the Sky" by Yau Nai-hoi and the South Korean film, "I'm a Cyborg, But That's O.K" by Park Chan-wook
The festival continues through April 11, showcasing over 300 local and international films from about 40 countries including 16 world premiers and 22 Asian premiers. It is expected to attract some 300,000 people.
The film festival is expected to attract more people as it is being held as part of the Entertainment Expo Hong Kong, which pools various entertainment-related events into one.
Before its launch, various events were held separately and the results were as fragmented as the events themselves. Since the inaugural launch of the expo in 2005 by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, key events in the areas of film, TV, digital entertainment and music are held together in the expectation of synergy effects and the development of the city as an international hub of all kinds of entertainment.
The events include Hong Kong International Film & TV Market; the Hong Kong International Film Festival; the Hong Kong Film Awards; the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum; the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum; the Hong Kong Music Fair; and the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards.
To promote the event internationally and attract broader attention, one of the best Hong Kong actors, Tony Leung, serves as an ambassador for the expo.