The 10th edition of Asia's leading film showcase and industry event, the Pusan InternationalFilm Festival (PIFF), kicked off on Thursday with a glitzy opening thathighlighted South Korea's emergence as the new star factory of Asia.

With 5,000 spectators seatedin front of a massive outdoor screen, the event featured fireworks, a surpriseperformance by pan-Asian pop phenom BoA and a string of local stars such as LeeByung-heon (A Bittersweet Life), Ha Ji-won (Duelist) and KimHee-sun (The Myth).

Korea's star system has been named as a key element in its film industry'srising commercial influence in markets such as Japan and China.

Other Asian stars putting inan appearance included Jackie Chan, Taiwanese star Vivian Hsu and Japaneseheartthrob Satoshi Tsumabuki. During thecourse of the festival, a record 80 actors are scheduled to be in attendance.

Capping the festivities wasopening night film Three Times by Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien,which played to a more subdued reception from the mostly young crowd. The supposed third and final version of thefilm was also judged by observers to be "almost indistinguishable" fromprevious cuts that screened at Cannes and Toronto.

Over the coming days PIFFwill feature a record 307 films including 62 world premieres, with a strongfocus on Asian arthouse cinema.

Industry events such asproject market the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) and the Busan International FilmCommission & Industry Showcase will also attract an estimated 300 companiesfrom 30 countries, including New Line Cinema, the Weinstein Company, LionsGate, Focus Features, Wild Bunch, and Celluloid Dreams.

A small number of marketscreenings will also take place, amidst hints that the festival may launch afull-fledged market in coming years.