(ZURICH) -- Roman Polanski makes his first public acknowledgement about Samantha Geimer, the 13-year-old model he sexually assaulted in Los Angeles, in a documentary on his life that premiered Tuesday at the Zurich Film Festival.
“She is a double victim: my victim, and a victim of the press,” Polanski says of Geimer in Laurent Bouzereau’s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir.
Polanski took to the stage at the Zurich Film Festival Tuesday to accept a lifetime achievement award two years after he was originally intended to receive it: he was arrested and incarcerated in a Zurich prison at the request of U.S. authorities when he arrived to receive the honor in 2009.
“Better late than never,” the 78-year-old filmmaker said after a booming applause from the audience.
The director was held for two months in 2009 following his arrest at Zurich’s airport, then placed under house arrest at his home in Gstaad while the fight over his extradition to the U.S. was waged in courts. It was in this time that Bouzereau shot the interviews with Polanski for his documentary memoir.
The film reportedly shows Polanski’s side of the story regarding the 1978 legal case against him, which alleged that the then 43-year-old filmmaker sexually assaulted 13-year-old Geimer during a photo shoot for French Vogue.
In 1978, Polanski and his lawyers accepted a plea deal that would have the director put on probation, but Judge Laurence J. Rittenband reportedly suggested to Polanski’s attorney that the sentence may be heavier. Polanski fled to France, where he was protected from extradition, mere hours before sentencing.
In July 2010, Switzerland rejected the U.S. extradition request. Six charges against Polanski remain pending in the U.S.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio