South Korean Director Yim Soon-rye's Forever The Moment walked away with the best picture award at the 29th Blue Dragon Awards in Seoul.
Based on the true story of the Korean women's handball team for the 2004 Athens Olympics, the film made $26m at the box office and was the first big hit of the year.
Accepting the award, producer Shim Jae-myung spoke of how many people had warned that women's films and sports films don't work.
'But everyone working on the film was a team player and made it a thrilling production experience. Director Yim Soon-rye once again succeeded in focusing a heartwarming gaze on non-mainstream people in an unpopular event,' Shim said.
Forever The Moment also scored the best supporting actress award for Kim Ji-young.
Kim Jee-woon's Oriental Western The Good, The Bad, The Weird garnered four prizes for best director, cinematography, art direction, and the most admissions.
The film clocked up seven million admissions after a successful world premiere in Cannes and a local release in July.
The runner-up for most admissions was Na Hong-jin's serial murder thriller The Chaser with five million admissions.
The big winner at the rival Grand Bell Awards in June, The Chaser was nominated in nine categories at the Blue Dragons, but only took best leading actor award for Kim Yoon-suk.
Park Chan-wook protege Lee Kyung-mi took the best new director award for her humorous drama Crush and Blush about the travails of an awkward schoolteacher afflicted by a facial flushing condition.
She beat competition including Kim Ki-duk protege Jang Hun with his low-budget action film Rough Cut and The Chaser director Na Hong-jin, who won the best director award at the Grand Bells.
Crush and Blush also won the best screenplay award for Lee, Park and screenwriter Park Eun-kyo.
Rough Cut took the best new actor award for its two leads So Ji-sub and Kang Ji-hwan who played, respectively, a gangster and an abusive star who battle it out on a film shoot.
Choi Jin-shil, a former national sweetheart who passed away October 2, was given an honorary award for most popular actress.
Choi had taken eight most popular actress Blue Dragons over the years for her work. Veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki, who appeared with Choi in the 1990 war drama North Korean Partisan In South Korea, presented and accepted the award on her behalf.
The jury, headed by Pusan International Film Festival director Kim Dong-ho, included academics, writers and filmmakers such as directors Kim Dae-seung, Song Hae-sung and Chang Yoon-hyun.
Televised on KBS, the red carpet event was hosted by actor Jung Jun-ho (My Boss, My Teacher) and actress Kim Hye-soo (Tazza: The High Rollers).
Full List of Winners
- Best film: Forever The Moment (MK Pictures)
- Best director: Kim Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird)
- Best leading actress: Son Ye-jin (My Wife Got Married)
- Best leading actor: Kim Yoon-suk (The Chaser)
- Best supporting actress: Kim Ji-young (Forever The Moment)
- Best supporting actor: Park Hee-soon (Seven Days)
- Best new director: Lee Kyung-mi (Crush and Blush)
- Best cinematography: Lee Mo-gae (The Good, The Bad, The Weird)
- Best screenplay: Lee Kyung-mi, Park Eun-kyo, Park Chan-wook (Crush and Blush)
- Best music direction: Bang Joon-seok (Go Go 70s)
- Best art direction: Cho Hwa-sung (The Good, The Bad, The Weird)
- Best lighting: Kang Dae-hee (Modern Boy)
- Best technical award: Insight Visual (CGI for Modern Boy)
- Best new actor: So Ji-sub and Kang Ji-hwan (Rough Cut)
- Best new actress: Han Ye-seul (Miss Gold Digger)
- Most popular stars: Sul Kyoung-gu, Kim Ha-neul, Jung Woo-sung, Son Ye-jin, Choi Jin-shil
- Most admissions: The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Barunson)