Stars including Mike Tyson, Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan walked the red carpet at the opening of the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) last night, along with three Korean jury members who are attending the festival despite the controversy surrounding MERS.

Many Koreans cancelled their trip to Shanghai earlier this week after the festival sent out letters advising them to stay away due to concerns over the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus that has hit South Korea. CJ Entertainment, Showbox and Finecut are among the companies that decided not to show, along with Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) director Lee Yong-kwan.

However the three Korean jury members – Kim Hee-jae (Golden Goblet competition), Kim Han-min (Asian New Talent) and Kim Dong-won (Documentary) – attended the opening ceremony, as did Korean actor Song Seung-heon who is shooting The Bombing, also starring Bruce Willis, Liu Ye and Nicholas Tse, in China.

Yen and Tyson put in an appearance to promote their upcoming action sequel Ip Man 3, while Chan is on hand for SIFF’s Jackie Chan Action Movie Week, which is focusing on both Chinese and global action movies.

Other talent on the red carpet included Derek Yee, director of opening night film I Am Somebody, Aaron Kwok, Eddie Peng and Fan Bingbing, while international faces included DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg.

SIFF also courted controversy earlier this week by cancelling the screening of Japan Film Week title Attack On Titan: The Crimson Bow, which was recently placed on a blacklist of anime titles by China’s Ministry of Culture.

In a more positive sign for China-Japan relations, the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) signed a mutual cooperation agreement with SIFF earlier in the week that covers recommendations on new talents, competition titles, special screenings and international jury. The two fests will also help each other invite stars to their respective opening and closing ceremonies and film industry guests to Film Forums.

The five-day SIFF Forum conference programme kicks off today, along with SIFF’s film market, while co-production market SIFF Project runs June 13-16.

Earlier in the week, Sino-European project lab Bridging The Dragon (June 10-13) took place in Songjiang on the outskirts of Shanghai. Tutors including scriptwriter Shu Huan (Lost In Thailand) and TorinoFilmLab’s Luigi Ventriglia mentored five European and five Chinese potential co-production projects. The second part of the lab will place at Locarno Film Festival (August 4-7).