Thelma Schoonmaker, a three-time Academy Award winner, was awarded on Friday the second Gucci award for women's achievement in filmmaking for her work editing "Hugo."
Schoonmaker, 72, has worked on every Scorsese feature film and won the Academy Award for "Raging Bull," ''The Aviator" and "The Departed."
"I just don't think I would have become a filmmaker if I hadn't met him," Schoonmaker told The Associated Press after receiving the prize.
The two met in film class at New York University in 1962, while Schoonmaker was considering either a career as a diplomat or in primitive art.
"He was just a student and I helped him salvage his negatives. He had cut them wrong ... and that's the beginning of our relationship of trust," she said.
Her favorite film is "Raging Bulll," her first major film, which she called "pure gold."
She said she thinks women make good editors because they are more collaborative — and praised Scorsese for having many women working for him.
"Scorsese told me some of the editors he worked with were men every cut was a battle. With me and him it's about the film and it's a wonderful collaboration," she said.
Actress Salma Hayek-Pinault presented the award at a private dinner at the Cipriani Hotel hosted by Gucci creative director Frida Giannini on the sidelines of the Venice Film Festival. By coincidence, 20 percent of the films in the official program in this year's edition are directed by women.
Festival director Alberto Barbera called it "a sign of the times."
Gucci will make a grant of $25,000 in Schoonmaker's name to New York University's film and television school — where Schoonmaker and Scorsese met.
The award is meant to highlight women's contributions to film in a wide range of capacities. Other nominees this year were Colleen Atwood for costume design in "Snow White and the Huntsman," Nadine Labaki, director of "Where Do We Go Now?" Brit Marling, actress in "Another Earth," and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, director "Saving Face."