KUALA LUMPUR: It was all pomp and splendour at the opening night of the 50th Asia-Pacific Film Festival (APFF).
Amidst a thunderstorm, stars from 16 participating countries including Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Malaysia as the host country arrived at Istana Budaya here.
The night started off with a presentation by 49 dancers dressed in the national costumes of countries that have hosted the festival in the past 49 years.
Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim Rais placed a beringin tree, which played an important part in the traditional play of wayang kulit, on the ground before cutting five layers of pulut kuning (yellow glutinous rice) to mark the start of the festival.
Among the luminaries present were Malaysian actresses and actors including Nur Fazura Sharifuddin, Jehan Miskin, Nasha Aziz, Maya Karin, Kavita Sidhu, Shuhaimi Baba, Afdlin Shauki and Ako Mustapa.
Indonesia's Ratu Felisha, Claudia Cintya Bella, Masayu Arastasyu, Marini Zumarunis and Diana Pungky stood out in their sexy kebaya.
The 50th APFF Awards will close the four-day festival to be held at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, which will be attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
There are 28 feature films, 12 short films and documentaries as well as seven animated movies from Bangkok, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Tehran, Hanoi and Malaysia.
Director Bade Azmi’s action-packed Gangster (starring Rosyam Nor and Siti Elizad), Saw Teong Hin’s epic Puteri Gunung Ledang (Tiara Jacquelina, M. Nasir) and Raja Ahmad Alauddin’s Afghan-set Qaisy dan Laila (Jehan Miskin and Nur Fazura) – all of which won accolades at this year’s Malaysian Film Festival – will take part in the feature film category.
Free screenings of the participating films are on at the Golden Screen Cinemas Mid Valley and Tanjung Golden Village KLCC cineplexes until Saturday.
For more information about the free film screenings, go to thestar.com.my/asiapacfilmfest.