DUBAI (AFP) - British actor Colin Firth won Variety Magazines International Star of the Year award at the Dubai International Film Festival which opened with his film The Kings Speech. Actress Carey Mulligan presented Firth with the prize from the prestigious US movie industry magazine on Monday evening at a public In Conversation session at the festival. The actor who played Mr Darcy in the 1995 television series version of Pride and Prejudice attended the opening gala of the festival, which kicked off with the film directed by Tom Hooper in which he plays King George VI. Last year, the award went to Scottish actor Gerard Butler. US actor, director and political activist Sean Penn was also due to have taken part to receive a Lifetime Achievement award but had to travel on an urgent mission to Haiti for aid work with his J/P Haitian Relief Organisation. I am honoured to receive the Dubai Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and had every intention of being there to accept it in person, Penn said in a statement to the festival. Regretfully, the situation in Haiti has worsened and it was of the utmost importance that I be there to ensure the safety of my staff and the J/P HRO camp, he said. A total of 157 films from 57 countries are being shown at this years Dubai festival, where new Arab talent especially from Egypt is also showcased. The prizes are worth a total of 600,000 dollars.