Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar has won his country's prestigious Asturias Prize for art.
Pedro Almodovar has directed 15 feature films
The director, whose films include Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother, said he was "overwhelmed" by the honour.
The annual prize is awarded in eight categories, including arts, science and international cooperation.
Almodovar's latest film, Volver, which stars Penelope Cruz, is in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
He is often described as a "women's director" because many of his films have revolved around strong, sympathetic female characters.
Ingenuity and sincerity
The jury for the Asturias Prize said they had chosen Almodovar "for the ingenuity and sincerity of his films and the zest and vivacity of his screenplays".
"It's one of the most important prizes I've ever received," said the director.
The award, which will be presented by Spain's Crown Prince Felipe later this year, carries a cash prize of 50,000 euros ($61,000) and a sculpture by Catalan artist Joan Miro.
Previous winners include Woody Allen, Arthur Miller and Nelson Mandela.
Almodovar was born in the town of Calzada de Calatrava in 1951.
He moved to Madrid at the age of 16, working in a flea market while he saved to buy a Super 8 camera.
In the 1970s he made several short films, mainly sex comedies, as well as writing the fictional diary of a porn star and singing in a rock group.
PEDRO ALMODOVAR'S GREATEST HITS
Talk To Her (2002)
All About My Mother (1999)
Live Flesh (1997)
High Heels (1991)
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
Law of Desire (1987)
Almodovar's first full-length feature was 1980's Pepi, Luci, Bom, but he did not make an impact on the international scene until 1988's colourful farce Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.
Oscar voters have honoured Almodovar twice, awarding him best foreign film for All About My Mother 2000, and best original screenplay for Talk To Her two years later.