An annual film event showcasing works rarely seen in Korean movie theatres has opened in Korea's southwest.
The Jeonju International Film Festival launched its nine-day run offering visitors a chance to appreciate independent and non-mainstream movies.
Our Son Heekyung reports from Jeonju.
Curtains went up for the eighth Jeonju International Film Festival with the official announcement from the Jeonju mayor.
Around two thousand visitors and dozens of industry bigwigs attended the opening act here.
The ceremony began with Korean celebrities and foreign guests walking down the red carpet.
Actors Kim Myungmin and Park Solmi hosted tonights glittering opening act.
A Korean breakdance crew also performed.
Then came time for the opening film ''Offroad'' by Korean first-time director Han Seungryong.
The screening was for the media, and shortly after, a news conference was held with the director and cast of the film.
Offroad has made its world premiere in Jeonju, piquing the curiosity of moviegoers ahead of the festival.
Director Han says he wanted to show how Korean society makes it very difficult for people to get back on track, once they hit a pitfall.
''I'm very happy that my film was chosen as the festival opener, given that I only spent one-tenth of the budget that commercials films normally use. I feel this opportunity has also greatly raised my prospects of advancing to the global arena. My film deals with the minority in society.''
This movie contrasts the beautiful scenery of the southwestern city with the struggle of young people against their bleak lives.
''I hope low-budget productions will continue to develop, and I also ask for the public's interest in independent films. I wish for more programs to financially support indie movies.''
More than 180 non-commercial films from nearly 40 countries will be shown during the festival.
The highlights include ''Discovery: Turkish Cinema,'' an introduction to films from the Islamic country.
The screening of eight Turkish films will mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s diplomatic ties with Korea.
Filmmakers from Portugal, Germany, and France will show their stuff in ''Jeonju Digital Project 2007''.
This movie is making its world premiere in Jeonju and provides a better understanding of Europe and its culture.
Koreans can also get a rare look at the works of director Peter Watkins the so-called godfather of the fake documentary.
The popular section ''Midnight Obsession'' is also for moviegoers into staying up all night to see films.
''The Jeonju International Film Festival will pack a serious cinematic punch to just about anyone here in the southwestern city. Organizers say, the event is dedicated to non-mainstream films, and that they hope to see more independent and arthouse movies playing at theaters across Korea.
Son Heekyung, Arirang News, Jeonju.''