Director Tim Burton, whose films include Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow, has been honoured with a career award at the Venice Film Festival.
Burton is unveiling his latest film at the festival
Festival organisers called Burton "one of America's bravest, most visionary and innovative film-makers".
Burton received the Golden Lion lifetime achievement award from his long-time collaborator, actor Johnny Depp, in a red carpet event.
Festival organisers dubbed Wednesday "Tim Burton Day" in his honour.
"I'm very honoured," said Burton, 49. "It means a lot to me. Hopefully it just inspires me to keep going."
He joked that the award was better than an Oscar, saying: "It's actually a lot more beautiful-looking thing than a bald, naked man."
He told Reuters: "You grow up in Hollywood and that whole scenario and what you feel here is that there is just passion about movies. So that's what makes it special to me - it's not about business, it's not about finance, it's about just the love of movies."
After the prize ceremony, Burton's 1993 stop-motion animation A Nightmare Before Christmas was shown at the event.
Burton began his film career with the 1985 film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, starring comedian Pee-Wee Herman.
His subsequent movies include Batman, Ed Wood and Mars Attacks.
The acclaimed director has unveiled his latest film at the festival, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
A movie version of the acclaimed Stephen Sondheim musical, it stars Johnny Depp as the eponymous serial killer barber.
It also features Burton's partner, Helena Bonham Carter.
"The amazing thing is that they are not professional singers, and it's quite a demanding (musical)," Burton said.
The Venice festival is now in its eighth day, and has already seen red carpet appearances from Keira Knightley, Bill Murray, George Clooney and Sir Michael Caine.
On Wednesday, organisers unveiled this year's surprise entry - Mad Detective - a Hong Kong police thriller by directors Johnnie To and Ka-Fai Wai.
Wai said: "Our hero eschews science and reason. Instead, he possesses the supernatural ability to look into the darkest places of people's minds."
Japanese director Takashi Miike was also due at the festival to show his film, a take on 1960s spaghetti westerns called Sukiyaki Western Django, which references the 1966 cult classic Django, starring Italian actor Franco Nero.
The festival, the world's oldest, is in its 75th year.