Lee Hye-ri

Source: Sublime

Lee Hye-ri

South Korean comedy drama Victory is to world premiere as the opening film of this year’s New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) where lead actress Lee Hye-ri will be honoured with the Screen International Rising Star Asia Award.

The performer, better known as Hyeri, will attend the festival to receive the honour on July 12 ahead of the premiere of Victory at New York’s Lincoln Center.

Hye-ri will introduce the film alongside director Park Beom-soo and co-star Park Se-wan. All three will also attend a post-screening Q&A.

The Rising Star Asia Award recognises emerging talent from Asian cinema and past recipients include Japan’s Masami Nagasawa and Ryohei Suzuki, Korea’s Kim Go-eun and Thailand’s Yaya Sperbund.

Hye-ri first rose to fame as a member of K-pop group Girl’s Day and made her acting debut in 2012 TV series Tasty Life but rose to prominence in following her performances in series Reply 1988 and My Roommate Is A Gumiho.

Her first leading film role was in period action horror Monstrum, which played in competition at Sitges in 2018, winning the audience award, and was followed by 2019 sports drama My Punch-Drunk Boxer.

Victory marks one of Hye-ri’s most-anticipated titles to date. Set in 1999, this comedy-drama is set on a remote Korean island and follows two high-school girls who create a cheerleading club to pursue their love for dance, but soon find themselves cheering for an underdog football team.

It marks the latest feature of director Park, known for his 2014 debut Red Carpet and recent romantic comedy Single In Seoul. Victory co-lead Park Se-wan is known for 2022 feature Life Is Beautiful while co-star Lee Jung-ha is known for hit Disney+ action series Moving. It is produced by Seoul-based Annapurna Films, headed by Lee Anna, the producer of 2011 box-office hit Sunny. South Korea’s Finecut handles international sales.

The 23rd NYAFF is set to run July 12-28 with the full lineup – including its Uncaged Competition titles – set to be announced next week.