Ian McKellen honoured at San Sebastian film festival

24th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Lord of the Rings star received the Donostia Award, a lifetime achievement award at the film festival in Spain.

San Sebastian – British actor Ian McKellen was Wednesday honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the San Sebastian film festival in Spain.

The 70-year-old Lord of the Rings star received the festival's Donostia Award, which goes to "a great film personality in recognition for their work and career."

"I'm very gratified for this Donostia Prize because it's not just for a character, but for a career," he told a news conference.

Best-known internationally for his roles as Magneto in the X-Men series and as Gandalf the magician in The Lord of the Rings saga, McKellen has also had a long career as a Shakespearean actor on the stage.

He received Oscar nominations for his roles in Gods and Monsters in 1998 and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings in 2001.

He received the Silver Shell award for best actor at the San Sebastian festival for Gods and Monsters, in which he played the gay British film director James Whale.

McKellen joked when asked by journalists to name the favourite character he has played.

"Usually I say my favourite character is the one I'm doing at the moment. But I'm not working at the moment, so my favourite character is me!" he said.

Then he added: "Gandalf is a wonderful character, I'm a big fan of Gandalf."

Openly homosexual, he has been a gay rights activist for many years.

"When I was younger, I knew that I was gay and I felt like I was the only person in the world that was attracted by the same gender," he said.

The Donostia Award last year went jointly to American actress Meryl Streep and Spain's Antonio Banderas.

Other former recipients include Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert de Niro and Vanessa Redgrave.

The 57th edition of the San Sebastian film festival, the oldest and most prestigious event of its kind in the Spanish speaking world, concludes on Saturday in the coastal city in northern Spain.

A total of 15 films are competing for top Golden Shell award this year.

AFP / Expatica

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