PARIS — British helmer Ken Loach will be feted with the Lumiere Award at the Lumiere 2012 Grand Lyon Film Festival, which runs Oct. 15-21.

The fest, which is headed by Cannes Film Festival topper Thierry Fremaux and presided over by helmer Bertrand Tavernier, is celebrates film legends and movie classics.

Previous Lumiere Award recipients include Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman and Gerard Depardieu.

“(Loach) is a man who opposes cynicism and capitalism, who supports the underrepresented or the forgotten… (He is) an artist who has always been on the side of decency,” said Tavernier, whose relationship with Loach goes back to the 60s, when he worked as a press agent on “Poor Cow,” “Kes” and “Family Life.”

Loach, a critically-applauded actors’ director with a loyal following on the specialty circuit, has received many Cannes honors over his career. His latest film, “The Angels’ Share” won Cannes’ jury prize and has had a good run at the French and U.K. box office. He will received his nod on Oct. 20.

Having paid tribute to IMDB last year, Lumiere 2012 will highlight another movie-buff phenom: movie classics DVD-VOD distrib the Criterion Collection. Homage includes restored print screenings and a masterclass. Criterion prexy Peter Becker and a large Criterion team are expected in Lyon. “What Criterion has done in the last 20 years is as important as what cinematheques have achieved,” Fremaux said.

Fest fetes Max von Sydow and Lalo Schifrin with career homages; while Vittorio De Sica, Max Ophuls and Dean Martin receive retrospectives.

“It will be one of, if not the first Martin retrospective in Europe,” said Fremaux.

Highlights include a restoration screening of Andre De Toth’s 1959 “The Day of the Outlaw”; the new Pathe print of Roman Polanski’s “Tess,” Studiocanal’s French premiere of Mark Cousins’ 15-hour docu “The Story of Film: An Odyssey.”

Book publications include Samuel Blumenfeld’s “Man of Cinema,” a series of interviews with Pierre Rissient.

Lumiere 2012 will also celebrate Agnes Varda, Michael Cimino and Jean Renoir with the screening of Gilles Bourdos’ “Renoir,” which closed Un Certain Regard.

As in prior editions, attending star filmmakers and actors will present their favorite classics.

“It’s so good to see artists linking past and present by conveying their passion for past films,” Fremaux said.

Fest will also explore potential markets for classic films via two round table events.

Lumiere 2011 sold 80,000 tickets, 60,000 for screenings, 20,000 for exhibitions, a big achievement for a classic pic confab.

John Hopewell contributed to this report.