The first Korea Drama Festival kicks off its four-day run today in the southern city of Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, with a number of Korean TV stars attending the event.
Already Asian idols, actor Kim Jae-won
and actress Park Sol-mi
will make their appearances at the opening ceremony while Song Il-gook
and Han Hye-jin
, who are currently starring in the smash-hit drama "Jumong"
, will greet fans on the third day of the festival.
The 2006 fest reflects the growing popularity of Korean TV in line with the spread of "Hallyu", or Korean Wave, across Asia.
According to a study released last year by the government, exports of domestic TV programs amounted to an estimated 110 billion won ($123 million) - 20 times more than the figure a decade ago.
Taking this golden opportunity, the Korea Drama Festival seeks to grab attention from both in and out of the country.
"Even though it is the first time we are hosting the festival, we shall do our best on the belief that this shall be recognized as a major festival representing Asia", said Kim Tae-ho, governor of South Gyeongsang Province and chairman of the organizing committee of the drama festival.
The festival will be filled with various events and performances that will highlight Korean pop culture.
A series of forums on the Korean Wave are also scheduled including talks with Kim Dong-ho
, chairman of the organizing committee of the Pusan International Film Festival, and with drama producers.
Notably, the nation's top designer Andre Kim is to host a fashion show. Kim will stage 150 designs inspired from silk, a local product of Jinju.
Top Korean actors Cha In-pyo
and Lee Soo-kyung
will take the stage with other models at Jinju Fortress, the symbolic venue for the city which bore the brunt of Japanese invasion during the 16th century.
For visitors and drama lovers, live performances will be staged including Korean traditional folk tales and mask plays.
Tickets for all the events and performances are free of charge.
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By Cho Chung-un