British director Alan Bridges turns 80 this year, but is still writing scripts. During his career he has worked with some of the biggest names in cinema history, including Ingmar Bergman and Laurence Olivier, but insists that his Palme d'Or win for The Hireling in 1973 was one of his crowning glories.

What did it feel like to win the Palme d'Or'
Astonishing. I knew we were making a quality film but I thought it wasn't going to be anything of any great significance.

How did you celebrate'
It wasn't extravagant in Cannes, because I was doing something else at the time and had to get back quickly.

How did the win affect your career'
I don't think it did have a major impact in those days. I had made a number of what you'd call 'artistic films' for television. I was very lucky to be working with marvellous writers, like Dennis Potter, David Mercer and John Mortimer, so it wasn't that difficult as a director to put their ideas into a visual form. But an unknown Englishman winning Cannes had little effect.

Did it make it easier to attract funding for subsequent projects'
Yes, it did in the end but not immediately. I can't remember any great surge of career fortune at that particular time. I think I just went on making films because I had to make a living, doing things like Saturday, Sunday, Monday with Laurence Olivier.

How many times have you subsequently been to Cannes'
I was there for The Return Of The Soldier in 1982 with Alan Bates and some of the other cast.

Which director would you give an all-time Palme d'Or to'
Ingmar Bergman. He once wrote half a script for a BBC film which I took over and made into The Lie as part of the Play For Today TV series, and won a BAFTA. We had to improvise dialogue at times, but his direction in what he wrote was amazing. But then I'm a Northerner, half-Scottish, and we're a bit bleak.

Where do you keep your Palme d'Or'
It was stolen. I've still got the certificate.

What have been the most important shifts in the industry during your career'
Much more accessibility for drama films. It is just a great shame that in this country we play down to the American market, but then all my producer friends ask, where else are we going to make our money'

How do you see the role of festivals changing'
Cannes has become a bit of a circus.But I think the French won't allow it to become too trite because they are a little self-conscious of art and won't allow it to go too far. There are some other festivals which are really phoney - the Leighton Buzzard Gold Medal Great Film Award sort of type.

What are your hopes and fears for the future'
I'm still writing, but I'm not very good. I still have to keep alive and make a bit of money, which I do, and I have a lovely wife and family.