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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 13:51 GMT
Gibson honoured with Latino award
Mel Gibson accepts his Latin Business Association award
Gibson (left) did not speak to the press
Mel Gibson has described his latest film Apocalypto as "a badge of honour for the Latino community" after winning a prize for his efforts.

Gibson picked up the Visionary Award from the Latino Business Association (LBA) in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The Mexican-made Mayan language film, out in December, chronicles the decline of Mexico's native civilisation.

Gibson hit the headlines earlier this year after he made anti-Semitic remarks following a drink-driving incident.

In August, the 50-year-old pleaded no contest to driving with excess alcohol in his blood.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but for sentencing purposes it is equivalent to a guilty plea.

Mel Gibson (centre) on the set of Apocalypto
The film comes out in the US in December and in the UK in January

Chairman of association, Rick Sarmiento, said the incident had not affected the group's decision to give Gibson the award.

"Hearing him tell the story about using Latino actors, it was a no-brainer," he said.

The film has a cast of unknowns and most of the crew were also recruited in Mexico.

Mr Sarmiento added that the film had made him "feel extremely proud of everything to do with our culture".

Gibson, a devout Roman Catholic, said the Mayan civilisation had always been of interest to him.

"It is generally a conceit of film-makers that history only began with Europeans," he said.

Gibson was shielded from the press at the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel - reporters were kept a few hundred feet away and were not allowed to ask him any questions.


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