Palm Springs, CA (February 10, 2021) – The Palm Springs International Film Awards today announced that legendary Korean star Yuh-Jung Youn will be the recipient of the 2021 Spotlight Award, Actress for Minari.

“In her first-ever American feature film, Minari, Yuh-Jung Youn wonderfully portrays a feisty and foul-mouthed grandmother whose Korean-American family has suddenly moved from California to a hardscrabble farm in Arkansas. Hers is a performance that crosses culture and language, one that fully reveals the skills of her long, brilliant career,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “It is our honor to present the Spotlight Award, Actress to Yuh-Jung Youn.”

Prior to honoree Jennifer Lopez last year, past recipients of the Spotlight Award, Actress include Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Helen Hunt, Allison Janney, Rooney Mara and Julia Roberts, all six of which received Academy Award® nominations in the year they were honored, with Janney winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Youn joins this year’s previously announced honorees joins this year’s previously announced honorees Riz Ahmed (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Viola Davis (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress), Andra Day (Breakthrough Performance Award), Anthony Hopkins (Career Achievement Award), Daniel Kaluuya (International Star Award, Actor), Carey Mulligan (International Star Award, Actress), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Spotlight Award, Actor), Gary Oldman (Chairman’s Award), Chloé Zhao (Director of the Year Award) and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Vanguard Award). The Festival and Film Awards Gala will not take place as an in-person event this year, but honoree selections will be announced to recognize this year’s great performances and Entertainment Tonight will air a tribute to the honorees scheduled on February 11th and February 25th.

The fourth film written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Minari is a tender and funny ode to how one generation of a family risks everything to plant dreams for the next. Named for a peppery Korean herb, Minari spotlights Korean-American patriarch Jacob (Steven Yeun), who moves his family from California to a farm in Arkansas in search of the American Dream. The rest of his clan is flummoxed by their unforeseen move to a new life on a piece of land in the far-flung Ozarks. But it is two unlikely family members at opposite ends of the spectrum—wide-eyed, unruly seven-year-old David (Alan Kim), and sly, foul-mouthed, yet loving grandmother Soonja (Youn)—who start to hew the family’s new path. In the midst of profound change and challenges, they all soon learn how to be resilient and what really makes a home. For the role, Youn received a Best Supporting Actress SAG and Critics Choice Award nominations.

Beloved by audiences around the world, Yuh-Jung Youn is a legendary actress who has starred in many of Korea’s most revered films and television series in a career that spans five decades. After becoming a star in her first film, Woman of Fire, in 1971, she has taken on memorable roles in over eighty television series and close to thirty feature films and has won countless awards. Recently, her reality television show, “Youn’s Kitchen,” became one of Korea’s highest rated shows and revitalized her popularity amongst a new generation of Korean audiences. She received international acclaim for her appearances at the Cannes Film Festival for The Housemaid and The Taste of Money, and she starred in her first American, English-language series as Minjung in the Netflix drama “Sense8,” by the Wachowskis.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 136,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, which is presented by American Express and sponsored by AT&T and Entertainment Tonight. The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Cate Blanchett, Mary J. Blige, Sandra Bullock, Mariah Carey, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Cynthia Erivo, Jamie Foxx, Gal Gadot, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Regina King, Jennifer Lawrence, Rami Malek, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon and more. Awards are provided by Chihuly and John Kennedy Studios. Both events are produced by the Palm Springs International Film Society, whose mission is to nurture and encourage new filmmaking talent, honoring the great masters of world cinema, and expanding audience horizons.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival and Film Awards Gala will return in 2022.  Palm Springs ShortFest is still scheduled for June 22-28, 2021. The Film Society has continued to host year-round member screenings and events virtually until theatres are able to open. For additional information visit or call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256.

Media Contacts:
Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy
[email protected] / [email protected]

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