Indonesian director Edwin won the Golden Leopard for Best Picture at the Locarno Film Festival on Saturday with Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, a homage to 1980s Asian all-action movies.
The feature paints a humorous portrait of a violent young man who falls for a woman after fighting her.
Edwin, who uses a single name, had already returned to Jakarta before the awards ceremony, but the organisers put out a video in which he said the Golden Leopard was "happiness... it's a nice support and it motivates.
"We need this energy in this not-so-easy time."
Indonesian cinema is still young, he said.
"I feel connected with all of the South-East Asian region because we are facing more or less the same spirit and also at the same time facing the same problem, you know we have censorship, we have violence here and there.
"We are very excited with the growth of our cinema.
"And even in this very difficult time, we can find the energy and all those spirits that can bring us, keeping us together and.... celebrating ourselves and at the same time criticising and find out what do in order to face our problems through cinema."
The 74th annual Locarno Film Festival ended on Saturday in Locarno, Switzerland, where 209 films and 310 screenings took place over 11 days at an outdoor event, following last year's virtual festival.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Italian director Dario Argento, also known as the "Master of Horror", while awards for Best Director went to American filmmaker Abel Ferrara for Zeros and Ones, Best Actress to Anastasiya Krasovskaya for Gerda, and Best Actors for Mohamed Mellali and Valero Escolar for Sis dies corrents (The Odd-Job Men).
The Special Jury Prize was given to Jiao ma tang hui (A New Old Play) by Qiu Jiongjiong.
Soul of a Beast, the only Swiss film in the competition, by Lorenz Merz, got a special mention.
Additional reporting by Katy Gillett