BUSAN, S. Korea, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The 18th Busan International Film Festival(BIFF) officially started Thursday evening at South Korea's port city Busan.
The opening ceremony of this year's event welcomed Aaron Kwok, a Hong Kong-based singer and actor, as one of the host. Last year, Chinese actress Tang Wei attended the opening ceremony as its first foreign host.
The New Currents, the event's main competition section, will offer two prizes of 30,000 U.S. dollars to first or second-time Asian directors.
Twelve films from 11 countries were invited to the section, displaying a tendency of bold experimentation and an awareness of pressing social issues. But no Chinese film has entered in the new current section this year.
The jury of this section is led by Iranian female director Rakhshan Banietemad and her counterparts from Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and France.
During the ceremony, Shahana Goswami, the leading actress of the opening film "Vara: A blessing" performed a short pieces of traditional Indian Bharatanatyam dance.
The Bhutanese film " Vara: A blessing ", the third feature film directed by Bhutanese lama and a filmmaker, Khyentse Norbu, was globally premiered on Thursday afternoon and won warm applause from cinema critics and journalists.
This is the first ever Bhutanese film that is screened as an opening film in international film festivals. It is also the first time that neither a South Korean film nor a Chinese one was selected as the opening film.
The closing film will be "The dinner," directed by South Korean director Kim Dong-hyun with his astute observations of an afflicted family.
The 18th Busan International Festival runs from Oct.3 to 12th. A Total of 299 films from 70 countries will be played out in this festival during the next 10 days, with 94 world premieres and 42 international premieres.