Chinese director Zhang Yimou has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the City University of Hong Kong.
Zhang's films include the Oscar nominated Hero
In its citation, the college recalled how the Oscar-nominated film-maker sold his blood to earn enough money to buy his first camera when he was 18.
"This experience emboldened him to later fight adverse situations and defy his fate," it said.
Hero and House of Flying Daggers director Zhang, 53, went on to attend the Beijing Film Academy.
He had been not able to pursue his interest in film until in 1978 as many universities were closed during China's Cultural Revolution.
In 2003 he saw Hero, which starred Jet Li as a 3rd century BC swordsman, pick up a best foreign film Oscar nomination.
His most recent work, Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, premiered last month at the Tokyo Film Festival.