The Tomb Raider star received a standing ovation as she was handed the Heart of Sarajevo trophy for bringing attention to the plight of refugees from Bosnia's 1992 to 1995 war with her directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey.
Jolie, whose partner is fellow Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, told the audience, "I will start crying if you don't stop. I told Brad in the car I was afraid I was going to cry. I am so honoured to be here at this festival. There is no greater example of the strengths of the artists and the festival that began during the war and grew stronger every year."
Jolie filmed a number of scenes from her drama in Bosnia and visited the country several times last year (10) in her role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations' refugee agency.
In the Land of Blood and Honey is set for release in December (11).