The Asian Film Festival is taking place for the 5th consecutive year in Jeddah. Inaugurated on Feb. 19 at the residence of Japanese Consul General Jun Yoshida, the event will last until Feb. 29, showcasing 20 movies from 11 Asian countries eager to entertain Jeddah’s diverse community in a way to bridge cultures and cultivate mutual understanding. Since the Asian Consuls General Club, comprising 14 Asian countries, promoted the initiative in 2008, the festival has been taking place every year in the most suitable locations at the disposal of Asian diplomats in Jeddah. February’s mild weather is ideal to arrange these kinds of open-air screenings. This year, Yoshida and the consuls of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia are hosting the festival that also sees the participation, along with Saudi Arabia, of the Philippines, India, Korea, China, Thailand and Bangladesh. During the inauguration, Yoshida and Consul General of Brunei Sulaini Said welcomed the guests on behalf of all Asian Consuls General who jointly displayed this years’ logo of the festival. “My gratitude goes to our predecessors and current colleagues who initiated and uninterruptedly supported this cultural appointment,” said Said. “Movies are among the most efficient tools to depict societies and cultures. The ones that were chosen to animate the festival expressly contain reference to the social, cultural and historical fabric that characterizes our different societies and people,” he added. No common theme or slogan was chosen for this 10-days movie review that is characterized by various cinematographic genres including comedies, romances, documentaries, and dramas. Yoshida inaugurated the review by opting for “Happy Flight,” a hilarious Japanese comedy overseeing all corners of the aviation industry that brought laughter among the audience. After Japan, Philippines presented on Monday a documentary film on the Puerto Princesa subterranean river national park, one of the most important biodiversity conservation areas of the country, followed by the love story “Forever and a Day.” Tomorrow will be India’s turn with “An Indian Symphony,” a documentary film analyzing the country’s transformation into the second fastest growing economy, followed by “Adaminte Makan Abu,” a 2011 drama about a poor perfume seller whose only remaining wish in life is to perform Haj. As for Saudi Arabia, the public will have to wait until Feb. 28 for the scary fiction “Hidden Evil” by Mohammad Hilal and the drama “Carrom” by Hamza Tarzan that will be presented after movie screenings from Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand and Bangladesh. Indonesia will close the event on Feb. 29 with “Di Bawah Lindungan Kaaba,” a film narrating the love story between two teenagers from opposite social backgrounds sharing the common dream of going to Makkah and performing Haj. The movie represented the country in Bali’s 2011 Asian Festival and was submitted for the 84th Academy Awards this year.