Antonio Banderas accepting his honarary golden biznaga on Saturday evening
Antonio Banderas accepting his honarary golden biznaga on Saturday evening / Álvaro Cabrera

Antonio Banderas takes centre stage

  • The prolific Malaga actor says his hometown "will always be in his heart" on accepting his honorary biznaga to long and raucous applause

The 2017 Malaga Film Festival reached its climax on Saturday evening, with the long-awaited presentation of the festival's distinctive 'biznaga' trophy to local actor Antonio Banderas at the closing award ceremony.

The Cervantes theatre erupted into a lengthy applause as one of the country's most accomplished actors approached the stage, where he accepted the honourary award from his "best friend and brother", Francisco Javier Domínguez Bandera.

Francisco paid homage to his brother's abilities as an actor, writer, producer and director but also described him as an "exceptional person." He added that Antonio, surprisingly, finds public speaking difficult. However, the actor's honest and amusing speech, which moved the audience, would suggest the opposite.

Earlier that day, in what may have been his most personal press conference to date, Antonio had spoken openly and emotionally about his recent heart attack and how grateful he is for his ever-loyal fans in Malaga and his "dreamlike" career. On accepting the award, he reiterated these sentiments. The actor thanked the festival for helping to promote his work over the last twenty years. In addition, he praised Malaga itself, saying he was "proud" of the city's recent cultural evolution and hinted that he would be returning to the city more often to direct and even swap the silver screen for the stage.

The ceremony closed with the awarding of the Golden Biznaga for Best Spanish Film to Verano 1993.