Actor Gabriel Byrne was presented the Mid-Life Achievement Award on Friday night as the final weekend of the 10-day 19th annual Maine International Film Festival in Waterville got underway.

Byrne, 66, whose movie “The Usual Suspects” was shown before the award presentation, received the traditional moose statuette, created by Winslow artist Laurel McLeod. The awards, which McLeod has been making since 2001, are custom-crafted for the winners. Director Robert Benton, who got a Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday, also received a moose statuette.

The moose’s head is made of papier-mache and the other parts are made of odds and ends.

Film festival program director Ken Eisen said earlier this week that Byrne “makes it seem so effortless, and I think that’s true of a lot of the great actors in history.”

Others who have received the award over the last 19 years include Sissy Spacek, Ed Harris, Glenn Close, Jonathan Demme, Keith Carradine, Peter Fonda, Terrence Malick, Jos Stelling, Walter Hill, John Turturro, Thelma Schoonmaker, Lili Taylor, Malcolm McDowell, Bud Cort and Arthur Penn.

Byrne said in an interview Tuesday it’s nice to be recognized and acknowledged for his work.


“I never thought I’d end up in America, making films,” he said. “So for me, it’s a lovely honor to receive.”

Byrne is a champion for independent film, and he said he’s happy to come to MIFF and help in some small way to help shine a light on independent film..

After the award presentation Friday night, Byrne was feted at a party on Castonguay Square downtown.

Other weekend MIFF events include Saturday’s Making it in Maine party and the 39th Annual Maine Student Film and Video Festival.

Sunday’s closing events include a closing night party at 9 p.m. at Mainely Brews, 1 Post Office Square.

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