San Sebastian Fest Kicks Off With Prize for Denzel Washington

Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival

The 'Equalizer' star receives a lifetime achievement award

Director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington graced the stage at the inauguration of the 62nd San Sebastian International Film Festival Friday night, kicking off the fest with a Donostia Award for lifetime achievement for the Oscar-winning actor. 

The pair, in town to promote their latest film, The Equalizer, spoke to journalists earlier in the day about it, with Washington sharing sage advice to young actors ("Get on stage first to learn to act"), speaking about how Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino inspired him to make New York-style movies and how he has no regrets in his career.

But at the ceremony, a visibly tired Washington — who admitted to being "moved" by the enthusiastic welcome he received coming into the ceremony — said he felt "humble" receiving the lifetime award and thanked San Sebastian for "appreciating what I have done through the years."

The ceremony was held in the futuristic-looking Kursaal convention center. It was presented by Spanish journalist Edurne Ormazabal as it is every year in Spanish, English and the local Basque language.

Unlike previous years, this ceremony highlighted business and the market as actress Maribel Verdu spoke onstage about the industry activities that usually don't make the script at the gala event.

Universal Pictures Spain's general manager, Jose Luis Hervias, picked up the Fipresci Gran Prize for Richard Linklater's Boyhood, voted the best film by the international film critics, while the official jury chairman, Fernando Bovaira, said the strong lineup of films wouldn't allow the jury members time to enjoy the city's renowned cuisine.

Antonio Banderas, Pedro Almodovar, Viggo Mortensen and Benecio Del Toro are a few of those expected at the festival this year. San Sebastian runs in the picturesque seaside town that is its namesake through Sept. 27.

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