The 8th Osian'sCinefan (July 14-23) held its opening gala in Delhi on Saturday night, followedby the world premiere of France and India-based director Pan Nalin's Valley Of Flowers.

A co-production between India, France, Japan and Germany, the film is a love story that spans two centuriesfrom the early 19th century to modern-day Tokyo. Nalin previously directed Himalaya-set romanticdrama Samsara.

Also during the openingceremony, held at the festival's main venue, the Siri Fort Auditoria Complex, Taiwanesecritic and producer Peggy Chiao was presented with a Lifetime Achievementaward.

The festival, which focuseson Asian and Arab cinema, will screen around 120 films from 40 countries,including ten world premieres. International guests include Mark Damon,Jean-Claude Carriere and veteran Chinese filmmaker Xie Fei.

The Asian Competitionsection features 12 films from around Asia, includingIzidore K. Musallam's Today And Tomorrow,which is billed as the first film to come out of Saudi Arabia. Although the director is a Palestinian living inCanada, the film was produced by Rotana Audio Visual, which is chaired by HRHPrince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsoud.

Other highlights include theIndian Competition, Cross-Cultural Encounters, Arabesque and The Middle Path, aselection of films about Buddhism. The festival also features tributes to Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan and India's Ritwik Ghatak.

This year's seminarprogramme - "Infrastructure Building for Minds & Markets" - includes the third edition of Talent Campus India and discussions on subjects such as "The Limits ofScreenwriting", "The Politics of Production and Distribution" and "Censorship".

Iranian director JafarPanahi's Offside will close the10-day event, after the awards ceremony, on July 23.