Young filmmaking talents got their chance at the spotlight at the 36th Hong Kong Film Award as two films by first-time filmmakers led the way.

Crime drama Trivisa (樹大招風) was the top winner of the night, winning Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Editing. The award winners were all first-time nominees in their respective category (except for editing co-winner David Richardson). However, Trivisa co-director Jevons Au also won Best Picture last year as one of the director of Ten Years (十年).

It’s because of the Ten Years connection that the Mainland media have been avoiding mention of Trivisa. The film is a co-production between Media Asia and China’s Hairun, but the film has not received a release in China. The Sina film Weibo didn’t hesitate to mention Trivisa‘s Best Director wins, but at least one comment from a Weibo netizen mentioned that the live feed was cut off when the Best Director award was announced. News of the film’s Best Film win is also being spread on Weibo with no sign of it being censored, despite some media putting a “banned” label on the film.

The first project shepherded by Milkyway scriptwriter Yau Nai-hoi (and co-produced by co-founder Johnnie To), Trivisa was a project designed to nurture a new generation of filmmakers and, according to an interview with To in Chinese media, to push Yau into a leadership position at the company. All three directors, along with Mad World director Wong Chun – were participants in the Fresh Wave Short Film competition, which was developed by To.

Mental illness drama Mad World (一念無明) took home three awards: Best New Director, Best Supporting Actor (Eric Tsang) and Best Supporting Actress (Elaine Jin). Wong and Jin took home the same awards at the Golden Horse Awards last November.

Weeds On Fire (點五步) took home two awards – Best Original Song and Best New Actor (Wu Tsz Tung). Both Mad World and Weeds on Fire were the first student group projects of Hong Kong government’s First Film Initiative and were made for only HK$2 million. The professional group winner, King Cheung’s Opus 1 (藍天白雲), has yet to be released even as the scheme’s second-year winner In Your Dreams (以青春的名義) is set to be released this year.

Despite having 12 and 10 nominations, respectively, Soul Mate (七月與安生) and Cold War 2 (寒戰2) were largely left out. Both films won one award each – Best Original Film Score and Best Sound Design, respectively.

Beating out heavy favorites Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun, Kara Wai won her third Best Actress award for drama Happiness (幸福是我). In her heartfelt tear-filled speech, Wai says that she took the role of a lonely woman with early onset Alzheimer’s because her late mother also suffered from the disease.

Chung Mong-hung’s Godspeed was a surprise winner for the Best Film from the Mainland and Taiwan award, beating out Feng Xiaogang’s I Am Not Madame Bovary (我不是潘金蓮) and Midi Z’s Road to Mandalay (再見瓦城).

The award ceremony was hosted by Ronald Cheng, who moved the show along at a steady pace after an opening musical number. Compared to past years, this year’s show ran a brisk three hours and 16 minutes without going overtime. The show saw a mix of nostalgia for the past (The creative forces of golden era production company Cinema City presented the night’s final award, the Professional Achievement award went to 70s poster illustrator Yuen Tai-yung) and optimism for a new generation. There were so many eligible new directors this year that the award had them take the stage for the presentation of the Best New Director award.

You can read about what happened at the ceremony at our HKFA Live Blog

36th Hong Kong Film Award winners

Best Film: Trivisa

Best Director: Frank Hui, Jevons Au, Vicky Wong (Trivisa)

Best Actor: Gordon Lam (Trivisa)

Best Actress: Kara Wai (Happiness)

Best Supporting Actor: Eric Tsang (Mad World)

Best Supporting Actress: Elaine Jin (Mad World)

Best New Director: Wong Chun (Mad World)

Best New Actor: Wu Tsz Tung (Weeds on Fire)

Best Film from the Mainland and Taiwan: Godspeed (Taiwan)

Best Screenplay: Loong Man Hong, Thomas Ng, Mak Tin Shu (Trivisa)

Best Cinematography: Peter Pau and Cao Yu (See You Tomorrow) (擺渡人)

Best Film Editing: Allen Leung and David Richardson (Trivisa).

Best Art Direction: Alfred Yau (See You Tomorrow)

Best Costume & Makeup Design: Yee Chung Man and Dora Ng (Monkey King 2) (西遊記之孫悟空三打白骨精)

Best Action Choreography: Tung Wai (Operation Mekong) (湄公河行動)

Best Original Film Score: Peter Kam and Yusuke Hatano (Soul Mate)

Best Original Film Song: Anthem of Shatin Martins (Weeds on Fire)

Best Sound Design: Kinson Tsang and George Lee (Cold War 2)

Best Visual Effects: Luke Sungjin Jung, Sang Hun Kim, Chan Soo Kim, Chul Min Kim (The Monkey King 2)

Professional Achievement Award: Yuen Tai-yung

Lifetime Achievement Award: Fong Yim-fun