The 11th Pusan InternationalFilm Festival (PIFF) opened last night with a star-studded turnout and the worldpremiere of Kim Dai-seung's Traces OfLove.

The opening ceremony waspresided over by veteran Korean actor Ahn Sung-ki (Silmido) and "national little sister" Moon Geun-young (My Little Bride) who remarked upon thefestival's record 64 world premieres and joked about the record age differencebetween emcees this year - 44 and 19.

Asian stars were out inforce, led by Hong Kong actor/producer Andy Lau, in town to accept the AsianFilmmaker of the Year award, as well as attend the screenings of several filmsproduced by his Hong Kong-based Focus Films.

Japanese actress KaoriMomoi, with her screenwriting/directorial debut Faces Of A Fig Tree screening in the fest, made an entrance in ashining pale blue kimono while Korean actresses such as Kang Soo-yeon andopening film stars Kim Ji-soo and Uhm Ji-won went the more Western route.Screaming fans also greeted actors such as Korean Wave star Lee Byung-hun andLee Joon-ki (King And The Clown).

Festival Chairman and BusanMayor Hur Nam-sik declared the official start of the festival and its seconddecade in front of an audience of 6,000.

Fireworks and a liveorchestra and chorus rendition of the PIFF theme song "Sound of Thunder"followed. (PIFF recently released its own soundtrack CD, including music fromprevious festival selections and its theme song).

President of the jury,Istvan Szabo, the Academy Award-winning Hungarian director of Mephisto, was joined on stage byCannes-awarded Bruno Dumont from France, Venice-awarded Korean actress MoonSo-ri, veteran Iranian director Abolfazi Jalili and Hong Kong producer Daniel Yu.

Before the start of theopening film, director Kim Dai-seung expressed the honour he felt at having hisTraces Of Love open the 11th PIFF,but added that the thought of Korea's halved Screen Quota pained him and expressed thefervent hope that "Korea can remain an exemplary country in the preservationof its culture." Kim is scheduled to hold a solo protest today in front of thePIFF Centre.

A slow melodrama offlashbacks and breathtaking scenery encountered during a road trip, Traces Of Love - based on the 1996collapse of Sampoong Department Store in Seoul - left the audience subdued at the end of theotherwise electric ceremony.

The 11th PIFF runs Oct 12-20,with the inaugural Asian Film Market to open on Oct 15. Concerns over recentNorth Korean nuclear tests have not hindered the planned attendance of thefestival or the market so far, according to the market publicity team's MarkSiegmund.