Singaporean director Anthony Chen had wanted to give up writing screenplays after a tough two years writing the script for his debut feature, Ilo Ilo.
Last night, the work was named Best Feature Film, the biggest award of the night at the Golden Horse Awards in Taipei, over the works of acclaimed directors such as Wong Kar Wai, Tsai Ming-liang, Johnnie To and Jia Zhangke.
Ilo Ilo won a total of four prizes at the prestigious awards, including Best New Director and Best Original Screenplay for him, and Best Supporting Actress for Yeo Yann Yann.
It was also nominated in two other categories: Best Supporting Actor for Chen Tianwen and Best New Performer for child actor Koh Jia Ler.
Both Anthony Chen, 29, and Yeo, 36, choked back tears as they accepted their trophies on stage.
Thanking his Ilo Ilo cast and producers, as well as Taiwanese filmmakers Lee Ang, Hou Hsiao-hsien and the late Edward Yang for being his sources of inspiration, Chen ended his Best New Director win speech with a note for his wife Rachel Yang, 31. "I spent three years making this film, and for three years, she was neglected. I'm sorry. I love you," he said.
While he had been widely expected to win Best New Director, his accolades for Best Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay were surprises.
Accepting his screenplay prize last night, he said: "Whoever said writing a screenplay is easy - they're lying. Writing Ilo Ilo was really tough and took me almost two years to write.
"I almost wanted to give up on writing for my next movie and just focus on directing, but thank you, Golden Horse, for giving me the recognition and encouragement for my screenplay. Maybe I will pick up the pen again and write another screenplay."