Song Kang-ho becomes first Asian to receive Excellence Award at Locarno Film Festival

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : May 17, 2019 - 10:37
  • Updated : May 17, 2019 - 11:10

Actor Song Kang-ho is to be recognized at the 2019 Locarno Film Festival, becoming the first Asian to receive the Excellence Award.

The festival, founded in 1946, is a prestigious film festival held every August at the Swiss-Italian town of Locarno. The film festival organizers announced in a press release Thursday that Song would receive this year’s Excellence Award, becoming the first Asian awardee. 

Actor Song Kang-ho poses for photos during a press conference for “Parasite,” held at The Westin Chosun Seoul on April 22. (Yonhap)

The Excellence Award is given to outstanding actors who have contributed to the film scene. Previous awardees include Susan Sarandon, John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, Edward Norton and Ethan Hawke.

“The Locarno Film Festival’s Excellence Award goes to actors who have followed significant, courageous paths. Thus far the recipients have all been American or European, but for me it was important to open up this prize to the Asian cinema,” said Lili Hinstin, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival.

“Song might not be a household name for audiences in the West, but his face is familiar around the world. A many-faceted actor, he is a peerless interpreter of the variety and intensity of emotions generated by Korean cinema, at ease in anything from drama to hard-boiled thriller.”

Hinstin also added, “Who if not Song Kang-ho can embody in a single performance all the excellence of Korean filmmaking over the past 20 years?”

Meanwhile, Song’s latest work “Parasite” has been selected for competition at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival. The local release is slated for May 30.

This year’s Locarno Film Festival will take place from Aug. 7 to 17. Song will receive the Excellence Award at an awards ceremony held on Aug. 12. On the next day, he will attend a panel discussion.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)