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PIFF Just Gets Bigger and Better

2004/10/07 | Permalink | Source

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By Seo Dong-shin
Staff Reporter

The Ninth Pusan International Film Festival kicked off Thursday with an opening ceremony to match both the festival's established status and the growing power of the Korean movie industry.

Some 6,000 people flocked to the opening ceremony, held at the Yachting Center in Haeundae, and there were even a group of around 300 Japanese visitors who managed to get seats. Hundreds of journalists from around the world also gathered to get an up-close look at the opening of the most influential film festival in Asia.

PIFF greeted the audience with its first pre-opening ceremony to a compilation of songs from popular Korean movie soundtracks, played by the Pusan Jazz Orchestra. A short clip outlining the history of the festival showed on the monitors next to the stage as the orchestra played.

The atmosphere heated up as celebrities began making their way onto the red carpet and into the official opening ceremony venue. "Well, I am just happy to see PIFF getting better every year and turning into really great film festival", Kim Ki-duk, who was honored with director's prizes at Berlin and Venice this year, told the reporters.

Renowned actor Moon Sung-kun joined in the praise for the festival saying, "I'm also glad that the PIFF has become the world-class film festival it is now. I hope this will provide us with an opportunity to share good movies around the world and feel joyful together".

The excitement of the audience, who continuously cheered while holding cameras high in the air, reached its climax when Wong Kar Wai, the auteur director from Hong Kong who has many dedicated fans here, entered with Tony Leung Chiu-wai, the lead actor of Wong's "2046", the opening film of the festival.

Popular Korean actor Ahn Sung-ki and actress Lee Young-ae co-hosted the ceremony and introduced festival chairman and Pusan City Mayor Hur Nam-sik on the stage. After Hur announced the official opening of PIFF, a joint performance of Japanese-Korean New Age pianist Yang Bang-ean and Won Il, who has contributed his music to Korean movie soundtracks many times, then followed.

Reflecting its largest-ever scale of 262 films from 63 countries and years of accumulated experience, the festival promises to be a rich and diverse event this year.

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