Along with a galaxy of stars promoting blockbusters from across Asia, this year's Busan International Film Festival will screen a North Korean film for the first time in almost a decade.

It will also show classic Afghan movies that were hidden in a wall to save them from a radical Taliban regime that banned most entertainment.

The continent's showcase film festival is a glitzy nine-day affair that opens Thursday. It has become a way for Asian nations to highlight their rise in the world pop culture scene. This year's fest will even feature a performance by South Korean rapper PSY, who galloped to fame with "Gangnam Style."

But it is films from two nations not normally on the radar of regional cinephiles that are also drawing attention.