Acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou's martial arts epic "Shadow" took the most gongs at Taiwan's Golden Horse film awards on Saturday, dubbed the Chinese-language "Oscars".
Zhang, the maker of classics such as "Red Sorghum" and "Raise the Red Lantern", won best director for the film inspired by traditional ink-brush painting which also bagged three technical awards.
"I've made movies for 40 years and this is my first Golden Horse (best) director nomination. I want to thank the jury for giving me the award," Zhang said at the ceremony at Taipei's Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
"Shadow" led the race with 12 nominations including best film but lost the coveted prize to "An Elephant Sitting Still" directed by Hu Bo, who died last year aged 29 in Beijing.
Hu also won best adapted screenplay for his first and last film -- a nearly four-hour-long story about four struggling small characters based on his novel.
"I want to thank the jury and the audience again," his mother told the crowd after she accepted the best film statuette for him.
China's 29-year-old filmmaker Bi Gan lost best director to Zhang for his 3D drama "Long Day's Journey Into Night", which collected best cinematography, best sound effects and best original film score.
Taiwanese filmmaker Fu Yue's "Our Youth in Taiwan" about the island's 2014 Sunflower Movement saw off "Umbrella Diaries: The First Umbrella" on Hong Kong's pro-democracy Umbrella Movement to win best documentary.
Both mass protests were led by young activists and reflected increasing resistance to Beijing's influence.
"I hope one day our country will be recognised and treated as a truly independent entity. This is my biggest wish as a Taiwanese," Fu told the crowd.
China claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, even though the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war.
Taiwan's theatre veteran Hsieh Ying-xuan beat better-known Chinese rivals to claim best actress with her first movie "Dear EX".
In the film she played a woman dumped by her husband who came out of the closet and fought for his inheritance against his gay lover.
China's Xu Zheng won best actor for his role as a smuggler of leukaemia drugs who ends up helping the sick in the box-office hit "Dying to Survive."
That movie also won best new director for 33-year-old filmmaker Wen Muye.
"I want to thank every member of the production... it's difficult to create hair on my head and I have two hairdos in the movie," joked Xu, who is bald.
More than 40 films out of a record 667 submitted were nominated for the 55th edition of the Golden Horse Film Awards, which this year were decided by a jury chaired by Chinese superstar Gong Li.