BUSAN (AFP) - There was wind, there was rain but all anyone really cared about was looking at the stars as film-makers from Asia and beyond gathered in South Korea on Thursday night for a Bollywood-flavoured launch of the 20th Busan International Film Festival.
Fans donned plastic jackets and braved the final remnants of Typhoon Dujuan as they took up positions in the stands along the red carpet laid outside the Busan Cinema Centre in the South Korean port city.
The stars did not disappoint them with the likes of Chinese actress Tang Wei and Japanese actress Masami Nagasawa braving what had threatened to become a decidedly slippery surface.
Festival co-director Kang Soo Yeon paid tribute to the resilience of those who had gathered, both inside and out.
"It's windy and rainy but so many people have come here today. It shows the passion you all have for cinema," she said.
Hollywood veteran Harvey Keitel was another of the festival's marquee guests to greet fans on Thursday, alongside some of the Asian film-makers who credit the festival with helping introduce them to the world, including China's Feng Xiaogang and Hong Kong's Johnnie To.
The festival's Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award this year was presented to Japan's Studio Ghibli. Its chairman, producer Suzuki Toshio, received the honour on behalf of the company founded by director Hayao Miyasaki, who was responsible for the Oscar-winning 2001 feature Spirited Away.
The main feature on Thursday was the world premiere of Indian director Mozez Singh's debut, Zubaan, a coming-of-age drama about a young Sikh who finds his way in life through music. It was the first time a Bollywood offering opened the festival.
"This is a super platform for any filmmaker and I wish all of us luck and the opening of many exciting new cinematic doors," Singh said.
Hosting duties for the opening ceremony were shared between South Korean actor Song Kang Ho and Afghan actress Marina Golbahari.
With the weather worsening, workers had toiled overnight to prepare both the Busan Cinema Centre and the city's Haeundae beach, where many of the festival's events are held.
While the festival has struggled with funding issues over the past year, Asia's film industry as a whole is booming.
The combined box office receipts of Asia's biggest movie markets - China, Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia - out-earned North America for the first time last year by US$10.5 billion to US$10.4 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
Much of that was down to China, where box-office takings surged 38 per cent from 2013 to US$4.8 billion.
Growth in the first eight months of this year is estimated to have been even higher at 49 per cent, and China alone is expected to out-earn North America by 2018.