Filmmaker David Cronenberg will be the first Canadian awarded a fellowship by the British Film Institute.

Organizers have announced Toronto-based director Cronenberg and British actor-turned-director Ralph Fiennes as the latest recipients of the BFI's highest honour. Both will receive the accolade — in recognition of career achievement — during the London Film Festival awards gala on Oct. 26.

Fiennes, who will unveil his directorial debut Coriolanus at the U.K. festival, is being honoured for "a singular career" of indelible performances, spanning films like The English Patient, Schindler's List and the Harry Potter franchise.

Meanwhile, Cronenberg — director of films such as The Fly, Crash, Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method — is being recognized for "exploring the darker impulses and inner lives of his characters."

"This is a monumental, in fact overwhelming, honour and my being the first Canadian to receive it makes it all the sweeter," Cronenberg said.

"British cinema has been a potent inspiration for me and to be associated with this particular group of filmmakers is tremendously exhilarating."

Cronenberg is also due for a career tribute at the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York next month. His long track record in independent film-making is to be celebrated at the awards on Nov. 28.

Gotham Awards organizers also plan tributes to actors Charlize Theron and Gary Oldman, as well as Tim Rothman, CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment.

Previous BFI fellows include filmmaker Danny Boyle and actor John Hurt.

The London Film Festival runs Oct. 12-27, with the star-studded Fernando Meirelles drama 360 tapped as the opening night movie. 

With files from The Associated Press