PIFF Begins. Buckle Up and Enjoy the Vibe

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BUSAN, South Korea – The 15th Pusan International Film Festival got underway tonight for a nine day extravaganza of films from across the world. Asia's largest cinema event features 308 films from 67 countries. A record number of world premiers, 103, are on offer this year.

The opening film, Zhang Yimou’s Under the Hawthorn Tree, starring Zhou Dongyu and Shawn Dou, was held at the Busan Yachting Center Outdoor Theater. A three-time Oscar-nominee, BAFTA, Golden Bear and Silver Lion-winner, Zhang directed the opening and closing ceremonies at Beijing’s Olympic Games. The movie is a Chinese love story set during the repressive Cultural Revolution.

During a pre-screening news conference Zhang spoke about recent trends in Chinese cinema leaning towards large production and his “unusual” departure from that style: "Indeed, there are many major commercial productions in China these days. The movies have displayed different kinds of glamor. It is unusual to suddenly make a basic, no-frills small film like this. I was just touched by the love story of these two young people. I wanted to show the young people of today an innocent kind of love."

Starting this evening at 7:30, the opening ceremony brought out Korea’s and Asia’s finest to the red carpet, including Cannes best actress award winner Jeon Do-youn. Approximately 5,000 movie fans jam-packed the Yacht Center tonight hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars.

Busan Haps will be there to give you all the coverage you need, including updates and photos from the opening until the closing ceremony, special coverage from press conferences of the main celebrities, movie reviews, as well as an insightful view of the festival from Chris Tharp, our main man on the party circuit.

Enjoy the festival!

Jeff Liebsch has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Eurobasket, Tribal Football and Yonhap News. He can be followed on Twitter at @chevybusan.

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