First time director, Zhang Hanyi’s “Life After Life” won the Firebird Award, the top prize in the young cinema competition at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

“Life After Life,” produced by Jia Zhangke, is a ghostly tale of lost spirits wandering the abandoned towns and villages of China’s industrial upheaval. The jury prize, or runner up, was Haendl Kilas’ “Tomcat.”

The festival says that its awards “aim to discover and honor budding filmmakers who push the envelope with their unique and innovative works.” The awards were presented at a ceremony at the Metroplex cinema on Saturday (April 2.) There was also a screening of “Crosscurrent,” Yang Chao’s fluvial drama which premiered in Berlin and had its first Asian outing in Hong Kong.

Firebird documentary prizes went to “Behemoth,” directed by Zhao Liang, and the jury prize to Vitaly Mansky’s “Under The Sun.”

The short film competition contained a field of 20 entrants. The winner was Leonor Teles’ “Batrachian’s Ballad,”. Thailand’s Pimpaka Towirs collected the jury prize for her “Prelude to the General.”

The FIPRESCI prize was awarded to “The Island Funeral.” The SIGNIS prize went to “Land Of Mine.”