Lord David Puttnam has been awarded the freedom of the City of Sunderland.
Lord Puttnam was honoured during a special ceremony
The oscar-winning film maker was given the highest honour the city can bestow in recognition of his role as international ambassador for the area.
He became Sunderland University's first chancellor in 1998, and played a significant role in promoting the city's regeneration.
Previous freemen include broadcaster Kate Adie, agony aunt Denise Robertson and the crew of HMS Ocean.
Lord Puttnam said: "As a Londoner, to be given the honour of Freedom of the City - my adoptive city, that I have come to love and respect - is massively important to me.
"I feel privileged and honoured that I have been accepted and absorbed by the wonderful city of Sunderland."
Councillor Bob Symonds, Leader of Sunderland City Council, speaking after the ceremony on Thursday, said: "Lord Puttnam is a prominent international ambassador for the University and the City.
"Through his work he has used his influence to emphasise the importance of partnership, inclusion and the family of schools which has marked out educational improvement over recent years."
Lord Puttnam has produced films such as Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express and The Killing Fields.