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American Film Icon Robert De Niro Opens Sarajevo Film Festival

American film icon Robert De Niro won the Heart Of Sarajevo award at the Sarajevo film festival on August 12.

American actor Robert De Niro has opened the Sarajevo film festival, which honored the star with a lifetime achievement award.

De Niro, 72, received the festival's Heart Of Sarajevo award on August 12 before 3,000 people at an open-air viewing of Taxi Driver, a 1976 film directed by Martin Scorsese in which he played a mentally disturbed cab driver.

Over 200 films will be screened in the 22nd year of the festival, which runs until August 20 in the Bosnian capital.

Created as an "act of resistance" during the 1992-95 siege of Sarajevo, the event regularly attracts big names. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Juliette Binoche, and Jeremy Irons are among those who attended.

The festival "was born during a dark and dangerous time to counter the butchering of war with a celebration of art and humanity," De Niro said.

British director Stephen Frears was also due to receive a Heart Of Sarajevo for his "extraordinary contribution" to the art of cinematography.

Eight feature films will meanwhile compete for the best film prize due to be awarded by a jury led by Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP