Roman Polanski to collect lifetime achievement award

September 15th, 2011

Roman Polanski will collect the lifetime achievement accolade from the Zurich Film Festival - two years after he was awarded it.

The film director - who was arrested in 2009 on a 33-year-old statutory rape conviction, relating to an incident in which he had sex with a 13-year-old girl - had been due to pick up the prize when he flew into Switzerland on September 26, 2009.

Polanski - who holds dual French and Polish citizenship - was arrested at the request of the United States.

Yet, after it was ruled he will not have to be extradited to the US, he will now be given the award at a special ceremony.

The tribute ceremony will be followed by the world premiere of a non-fiction film, but no further details will be released before the official screening on September 27

Organisers Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht said: "We are especially proud to welcome Roman Polanski this year to receive his award. We have always been tremendous admirers of his work and we are delighted that we will soon be able to express this to him in person."

In 1977, The 'Pianist' director pleaded guilty to charges of having underage sex with 13-year-old Samantha Gailey, now known as Samantha Geimer.

He believed he would face a jail term of just 42 days, and claimed a judge had reneged on a plea bargain deal to reduce the charges from rape and serious sexual assault if he admitted under-age sex.

On the day of his sentencing he fled to London then Paris as France does not have an extradition treaty to the US.