Date: 28th September 2011

Polanski returns to Zurich for lifetime award

Roman Polanski has received a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival, two years after his arrest in the city on sex charges.

Polanski received a standing ovation before telling the audience: "What can I say? Better late than never."

He had been on his way to receive the award in 2009 when Swiss police arrested him over a 1977 US conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

He spent months in prison and house arrest but avoided extradition.

The 78-year-old Polish-French director, whose work includes Rosemary's Baby and Tess, is now able to travel unhindered to Switzerland.

"It's a strange anniversary for me, two years, day for day," he said after receiving the award.

"Certain parts of it I'd rather forget, but I'm happy to be here. It is a very moving moment for me so do not expect any speeches."

He thanked those who had supported him during "these difficult months".

"I would in particular like to thank the prison staff who tried to make my stay as bearable as possible, including the head of the prison of Zurich," he said.

He added: "I love coming to Switzerland, I have been coming for years, and I'm happy to be here."

Source: Press Release