San Seb honors Iglesias' film 'poetry'


SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- Oscar- and Bafta-nominated film composer Alberto Iglesias was awarded the Spain's National Film Award for lifetime achievement at a ceremony in San Sebastian Saturday.

For Iglesias ("Volver," "The Constant Gardener"), perhaps best-known for his work with Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, it was a crowning achievement in a career that began in this small Basque city by the sea.

"I was born in San Sebastian, I did my studies here," Iglesias told The Hollywood Reporter. "My first piano teacher was sitting right there in the front row with my family, so it is a very special moment for me."

The National Film Award is presented every year at the San Sebastian International Film Festival to a Spanish talent judged to have made a lasting contribution to the county's cinematic culture.

Spain's new culture minister, Cesar Alberto Molina, presented the prize, which comes with a €30,000 cash purse, saying Iglesias' film scores "bring poetry" to the films he works on.

At 52, Iglesias said he has no plans to slow down. After finishing the score for Marc Foster's upcoming "The Kite Runner," Iglesias moved directly to composing the music for Steven Soderbergh's "The Argentine" and "Guerrilla," both of which star Benicio Del Toro as Latin American revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara.

Iglesias said he sees his work as part of an international boom in Spanish-language talent, evident in the success of productions as diverse as Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel" or Almodovar's "Volver."

"I think we are at a very special time in Spanish, and Spanish-language cinema," Iglesias said. "The industry here is growing and we have a new generation of talent that is proud and confident in what they do. It is a beautiful moment and I hope to be a part of it for a long time to come."