George Lucas: George Lucas has been selected by the American Film Institute's (AFI) Board of Trustees to receive the 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film, it was announced today by Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees.
The award will be presented to Lucas at a gala tribute in Los Angeles in June 2005.
"I've been very fortunate to have had a long career doing what I love to do, and being recognized by AFI for it is really an honor," Lucas said. "I'm proud to be counted among such an extraordinary group of people whose lives are dedicated to the art of making movies."
"George Lucas is a master storyteller, but he is first and foremost a moving image pioneer," said Stringer. "He has advanced the art of the moving image like few others, and in the process has inspired a new generation of filmmakers around the world. AFI is proud to present him with its Life Achievement Award."
USA Network will broadcast the 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award tribute in June 2005. Bob Gazzale, who served as executive producer and writer of AFI's Tributes to Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, will continue in these roles.
About George Lucas
Born and reared in Modesto, California, George Lucas first attracted attention for his filmmaking abilities as a student at the University of Southern California, when his short film, ELECTRONIC LABYRINTH THX 1138 4EB, won the top award at the National Student Film Festival.
In 1971, using San Francisco production studio American Zoetrope and long-time friend Francis Ford Coppola as executive producer, Lucas transformed the short film into his first feature, the stunningly prescient THX 1138.
His follow-up, the low-budget AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973), became the most successful film of its time. But it was STAR WARS (1977), Lucas' third film, that changed everything. A deceptively simple morality tale of good versus evil told across a fantastic landscape of exotic planets and bizarre creatures, STAR WARS became an international phenomenon. Refusing to accept the limitations of filmmaking at the time, Lucas created his own visual effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, to make his vision a reality.
Lucas has been storywriter and executive producer of a series of box-office hits beginning in the 1980s, starting with the continuation of the STAR WARS saga, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in 1980 and RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983. In 1981, he created the classic adventurer INDIANA JONES, star of three classic box-office hits as well as a television series, THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES, which won 12 Emmy Awards.
Throughout the 1980s, Lucas helped bring to the screen an array of films as diverse as WILLOW; TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM; and MISHIMA, and helped create unforgettable Disney theme park attractions. As chairman of Lucasfilm Ltd., Lucas oversaw its growth into all facets of filmmaking and entertainment. ILM has delivered revolutionary visual effects for scores of films and blazed new trails into the world of digital imagery. The computer graphic research division of Lucasfilm was spun-off in 1986 and became Pixar Animation Studios.
Skywalker Sound has applied its own perfection and devotion to the crafting of a film's soundtrack and post-production editing. Lucasfilm has been a post-production innovator, with such pioneering achievements as non- linear video editing systems that became the basis of the standard editing platforms used in film and television today.
Lucasfilm also includes LucasArts, a leading developer of home computer and console-based entertainment, and Lucas Licensing, which have expanded the STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES brands into best-selling novels, toys and merchandise.
Lucas returned to directing in 1999 with STAR WARS: EPISODE I THE PHANTOM MENACE. Three years later, EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES, was the first major live-action movie to be shot entirely digitally. Lucas is currently in post-production on the third and final STAR WARS film, EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH, scheduled to be released May 19, 2005.
About the AFI Life Achievement Award
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 26, 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:
"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time."
In 1993, the trustees extended the criteria to encompass "individuals with active careers and work of significance yet to be accomplished."
AFI Life Achievement Award Recipients
George Lucas joins an esteemed group of individuals who have been chosen for this distinguished honor since its inception in 1973.
1973 John Ford
1974 James Cagney
1975 Orson Welles
1976 William Wyler
1977 Bette Davis
1978 Henry Fonda
1979 Alfred Hitchcock
1980 James Stewart
1981 Fred Astaire
1982 Frank Capra
1983 John Huston
1984 Lillian Gish
1985 Gene Kelly
1986 Billy Wilder
1987 Barbara Stanwyck
1988 Jack Lemmon
1989 Gregory Peck
1990 Sir David Lean
1991 Kirk Douglas
1992 Sidney Poitier
1993 Elizabeth Taylor
1994 Jack Nicholson
1995 Steven Spielberg
1996 Clint Eastwood
1997 Martin Scorsese
1998 Robert Wise
1999 Dustin Hoffman
2000 Harrison Ford
2001 Barbra Streisand
2002 Tom Hanks
2003 Robert De Niro
2004 Meryl Streep