Mexico City – Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and Mexican actress Salma Hayek were awarded the Luis Buñuel prize for promoting goodwill between Mexico and Spain, the director of the Es.cine festival, Enrique Rubio, told Efe.
They were the fourth Mexican-Spanish pair of recipients of this annual prize conferred in conjunction with the Es.cine festival of Spanish and Latin American cinema, which will get underway Nov. 24 in the Mexican capital.
This year's honor was awarded in private and coincided with the actors' visit to Mexico City to present their new animated film "Puss in Boots."
The objective of the award is to "symbolize, through Buñuel's name, someone who has spent his or her life between Mexico and Spain," Rubio told Efe Wednesday, adding that "there can be no better ambassadors than Banderas and Hayek."
"Antonio told me yesterday that he owes part of his career to Mexico and was very moved" to receive a prize bearing the late surrealist filmmaker's name, Rubio said.
"Salma is the most recognizable figure in Mexico and she has taken our country to every corner of the world," he added.
The Mexican actress said she felt "very honored" to be awarded the prize and to be "included in a group of artists" she respects and admires, festival organizers said in a statement.
Banderas, for his part, said it is "a great honor" to receive an award that bears the name of a person he admires and who, like him, "spent his life between two continents."
Buñuel was born in Spain but went into exile after the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and later became a naturalized citizen of Mexico.
The previous recipients of the award are Silvia Pinal and Carlos Saura, Maribel Verdu and Daniel Gimenez Cacho and Julio Medem and Pedro Armendariz.
Some of the most successful Spanish films of last year, including "Pa negre" (Black Bread) and "La piel que habito" (The Skin I Live In), will be screened during the week-long Es.cine festival.