Rising Stars honored at NYAFF

Kong Hyo-Jin, So Ji-Sub given inaugural awards

NEW YORK -- Two of Korea's red-hot up-and-coming film stars, Kong Hyo-Jin and So Ji-Sub, received the inaugural Rising Star Asia Awards as part of the eighth New York Asian Film Festival Wednesday night.

The actress and the actor were in town for the honors at Manhattan's IFC Center.

Kong is featured at the festival this year with "Crush and Blush" and "Dachimawa Lee," while So was in town in support of his movie "Rough Cut" and received his award from Gerry Byrne, senior vp for the Entertainment Group at Nielsen Business Media, of which THR is part.

Long lines of avid fans patiently waited for screenings of the two films later Wednesday evening.

Earlier in the day, Kong and So told THR through translators that they are each currently looking at their next potential projects.

So said "it could be in Korea, it could be Japan, China." He added: "And if the opportunity presents itself in the future, of course, America." So said he particularly enjoys Ed Norton's work.

Kong said she is currently considering several screenplays and expressed an interest in working with Michel Gondry somewhere down the line. She also said she would like to make movies in other countries, pointing out that Korean productions often get made on a shoestring budget. "Crush and Blush," for example, had a budget of less than $1 million.

Both stars expressed the hope that Asian actors would increasingly get opportunities in foreign and international productions to show their true acting talents and not only be pigeonholed into certain movie stereotypes, such as the kung-fu master or geisha. Kong, for example, said with a laugh that she has heard that "as an Asian actress, you have to do martial arts, even though in reality they don't really do that back in Korea." And So said if he got a role in a U.S. movie, he would prefer to play a dramatic or melodramatic role.

The Asian up-and-comers had a busy schedule in New York. "This is my third time here, but all I have seen really is the Empire State Building and Central Park," quipped So.

The Hollywood Reporter is a sponsor of the NYAFF.