Aaron Kwok, Ken Watanabe and More at the 18th Annual Busan International Film Festival

Glamorous stars, stunning (sometimes shocking) fashion, blinding lights and a seemingly mile-long red carpet.

The Oscars? Cannes? Nope, it’s Opening Night at the Busan International Film Festival. And this time, the stars garnering the screams from fans are some of the most beautiful people from all around Asia.

Since its inception in 1996, the Busan International Film Festival (formerly, Pusan) has grown into arguably the biggest, most important film festival in all of Asia. Located in the seaside city of Busan, about 200 miles south of South Korea’s capital of Seoul, the film festival (also known as BIFF) draws thousands of film execs, media and international stars from around the world.

 

Aaron Kwok in a Longines ad.

Aaron Kwok in a Longines ad.

This year, the 18th annual BIFF, sponsored by prestige cosmetics line Artistry, kicks off this Thursday, October 3, with a red carpet screening of Vara: A Blessing, the third feature film by director and Bhutan priest Khyentse Norbu. Taiwanese mega-star Aaron Kwok is set to moderate the opening ceremony, and throughout the 10-day festival, we can expect to see luminaries like Ken Watanabe, who’ll be starring in Japan’s version of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven; and Vietnamese American actor Dustin Nguyen, whose film Once Upon a Time in Vietnam, which he directed, with have its international premiere.

Other highly anticipated films screening at BIFF include Joon-ho Bong‘s Snowpiercer, starring Kang-ho Song, Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris; the controversial film Moebius by Ki-duk Kim; Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate about Julian Assange; and The Coen BrothersInside Llewyn Davis.

Kang-ho Song in Snowpiercer.

Kang-ho Song in Snowpiercer.

And of course, there will be tons of fashion (and films!) to evaluate. It’ll be a veritable eye candy fest. Stay tuned as Audrey goes to BIFF and gets a firsthand look at Opening Night!

The Busan Cinema Center, courtesy of Busan International Film Festival Korea, biff.kr.

The Busan Cinema Center, courtesy of Busan International Film Festival Korea, biff.kr.

 

First Look: Animated Prequel to Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer”

Audiences worldwide eagerly await Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s English-language debut, “Snowpiercer.” Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the film contemplates the nature of humanity and whether or not it is worth saving. The film’s cast includes Korean actor Song Kang-ho, as well as Hollywood mainstays like Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Alison Pill, and Ed Harris.

After a failed experiment to stop global warming eliminates most of life on Earth, what remains of humanity survives aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the world powered by a perpetual-motion engine. Over time a class system develops, leading to a revolt by the poor who live at the back of the train.

The film has received critical praise so far, though a release date has yet to be announced. In the meantime, CJ Entertainment has released an animated short that sets up the film’s post-apocalyptic world. It is a chilling prequel to what looks to be a promising work of cinematic science fiction.