Lee Jeong-hyang's The Way Home was named best picture at South Korea's 39th annual Grand Bell (Daejong) Awards, held in Seoul on May 26.
The film, about a seven year-old boy who goes to live with his grandmother in the country, has been a local audience favourite, earning over $20m since its April release. At the Cannes Market, sales agent CJ Entertainment sold distribution rights for all English-speaking territories to Paramount, following earlier sales to China and Japan. The film will receive its international premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June.
Several films received multiple awards at the ceremony, most prominently Song Hae-sung's Failan, which took home the Best Director award and the Jury Prize. The film, about a Chinese immigrant to Korea who enters into a fake marriage, stars Hong Kong actress Cecilia Cheung and Choi Min-shik, the lead in Im Kwon-taek's Cannes entry Chihwaseon.
Top acting honours were won by Sol Kyung-gu for his role as a detective in Public Enemy, and actress Jeon Ji-hyun for her performance in My Sassy Girl. The latter film has been picked up for a remake by DreamWorks, after spending multiple weeks atop the box-office in Korea and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile Japanese actor Nakamura Toru became the first non-Korean to be awarded at a domestic awards ceremony, winning Best Supporting Actor for his role in sci-fi blockbuster 2009 Lost Memories.
The Grand Bell Awards are considered one of Korea's top two domestic awards ceremonies, together with the Blue Dragon (Chungryong) Awards held in December.
39th Annual Grand Bell (Daejong) Awards, South Korea
Best Picture: The Way Home (Tube Pictures)
Jury Prize: Failan (Tube Pictures)
Best Director: Song Hae-sung (Failan)
Best Actor: Sol Kyung-gu (Public Enemy)
Best Actress: Jeon Ji-hyun (My Sassy Girl)
Best New Director: Lee Si-myung (2009 Lost Memories)
Best New Actor: Lee Jong-soo (Kick The Moon)
Best New Actress: Seo Won (Bad Guy)
Best Supporting Actor: Nakamura Toru (2009 Lost Memories)
Best Supporting Actress: Pang Eun-jin (Address Unknown)
Best Cinematography: Kim Yoon-su (The Last Witness)
Best Screenplay: Lee Jeong-hyang (The Way Home)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Kwak Jae-yong (My Sassy Girl)