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Ip Man tops bill at Hong Kong Film Awards
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Its competitors were mainly expensive blockbusters, including John Woo's 80 million U.S. dollars "Red Cliff."

Paw - who in the film played a single mother raising a teenage son in Hong Kong's suburban Tin Shui Wai district - recalled how director Hui struggled to find funding.

"Such a great director faced so much pressure. She didn't have money or a big cast, but she used great passion and a serious attitude to make this movie," Paw said after collecting her best actress trophy.

She said expectations were low for the film, "we all just wanted to help Ann make a meaningful movie."

Picking up her best director award, Hui said: "When I was a student, I thought winning a prize at Cannes was the best thing. But I've matured. Now I realize that receiving an award from your own people makes me the happiest."

Woo's "Red Cliff," about an ancient Chinese battle, missed out on the major prizes but collected a slew of technical awards, including best visual effects and two art awards for art director Tim Yip.

Woo was seen chuckling after organizers showed a parody of his classic 1986 gangster film "A Better Tomorrow" that portrayed its iconic trench-coat wearing character using duck heads instead of guns to fire at his enemies. The parody was part of a lighthearted tribute to "Stealing a Roasted Duck," a short from 1909 that was the first Hong Kong-made film.

Director Wong Kar-wai presented a lifetime achievement award to veteran actress Josephine Siao, a best actress winner at the Berlin Film Festival for the 1995 film "Summer Snow."

(Shanghai Daily April 20, 2009)

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