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Hong Xa-bin of ‘Hopeless’ wins Rising Star award at London East Asia Film Festival

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Oct. 31, 2023 - 12:49

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Hong Xa-bin (second from right) speaks during the 8th London East Asia Film Festival in London on Monday. (Plus M Entertainment) Hong Xa-bin (second from right) speaks during the 8th London East Asia Film Festival in London on Monday. (Plus M Entertainment)

Hong Xa-bin, who plays 18-year-old high school student Yeon-kyu in rookie director Kim Chang-hoon’s feature debut film “Hopeless,” won the Rising Star Award at the London East Asia Film Festival on Monday.

In this noir film, Hong showed a detailed emotional buildup and sensitive acting performance to portray Yeon-kyu who lives with an abusive stepfather and an enervated mother.

His character is even asked to leave the Chinese restaurant where he works part-time. Then, he meets Chi-gun (Song Joong-ki), the right-hand man of a gang boss, who seems offer a haven for Yeon-kyu. The film opened in local theaters on Oct. 11

“This award is the first ever since I was an elementary school student. I’m super nervous. I would especially thank Song Joong-ki, who said that this film is mine and I should look up, be confident,” Hong said in his acceptance speech.

The LEAFF kicked off on Oct. 18 and continued for 12-day run. Introducing 49 films that have gained attention in eight countries, including Korea, China, Japan and Hong Kong, a number of South Korean films including “Concrete Utopia,” “The Boys” and “Hopeless” were invited to this year’s festival.

LEAFF was officially launched in 2016 to support collaboration in East Asian filmmaking amid a shift in the cinematic landscape of East Asia, as well as to move away from cultural and cinematic borders.