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SFMOMA salutes motion picture pioneer George Lucas with Lifetime Achievement Award and dinner
Filmmaker George Lucas the recipient of its 2013 Bay Area Treasure Award. Photo: Courtesy of Skywalker Properties Ltd.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has named filmmaker George Lucas the recipient of its 2013 Bay Area Treasure Award. The annual lifetime achievement award, organized by the Modern Art Council (MAC), SFMOMA’s premier fund-raising auxiliary, recognizes artists and creative leaders in the region who continually redefine the field of visual art.

“George Lucas’s visionary work with the moving image—particularly as a pioneer of visual effects and an inventor of new forms of storytelling—is genre-crossing and has redefined the language of cinema in our age,” says SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “Film has a long history as part of the museum’s program, and we are thrilled to celebrate Lucas’s extraordinary achievements.”

The award will be given at a presentation and dinner on Thursday, October 24, 2013 (venue to be announced). Proceeds from the event support SFMOMA’s exhibitions and enable the museum to serve more than 50,000 students, teachers, and families annually through diverse education programs.

“I’m proud to be recognized by SFMOMA and this award in the Bay Area,” said Lucas. “It’s an honor to be included in the company of such esteemed artists and cultural figures.”

Lucas is the 14th Bay Area Treasure Award honoree; previous recipients include media artist Jim Campbell; painters Robert Bechtle, Manuel Neri, Nathan Oliveria, Wayne Thiebaud, and William T. Wiley; sculptors Richard Serra and Mark di Suvero; sound artist Bill Fontana; industrial designer Sara Little Turnbull; architect Lawrence Halprin; and photographers Ruth Bernhard and Larry Sultan.

“We’re honored to celebrate such an original talent,” says MAC president Joni Binder Shwarts. “Lucas’s influence has made our region a center for innovation in film and animation. He has also contributed greatly to the community through his support of progressive education in K-12 schools, a shared priority for the museum.”

Best known for his Star Wars franchise and popular Indiana Jones series, American film producer, screenwriter, and director George Lucas has revolutionized the world of cinema and pioneered new standards for sophistication in film visuals and sound. He is the director of the acclaimed 1971 film THX 1138, as well as the writer and producer of myriad independent films. In 1971 he formed his own film company, Lucasfilm Ltd., in San Rafael, California. In 1973 he co-wrote and directed American Graffiti, which won the Golden Globe and garnered five Academy Award nominations. Four years later his Star Wars broke all box-office records. Lucas continued the Star Wars saga as storywriter and executive producer with The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983. He returned to directing in 1999 with Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, which was the first major live-action film to be projected digitally. Three years later Episode II Attack of the Clones broke new ground as the first major movie shot using entirely digital media.

Lucas has also served as executive producer on such widely varied films as Willow, which was based on his original story and directed by Ron Howard; Tucker: The Man and His Dream, directed by Francis Ford Coppola; and Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha (1980) and Labyrinth (1986); among others. Lucas released and served as executive producer on Red Tails (2012), a fictional story inspired by the historic and heroic exploits of America’s first all-black aerial combat unit. In addition, he executive produced Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the inaugural project from Lucasfilm Animation.

As Lucas continued making movies, he also furthered the development of Lucasfilm Ltd. to encompass the world’s leading entertainment companies for motion picture and television production, including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound; LucasArts; Lucas Licensing; Lucas Online; and Lucasfilm Animation. In 2012 Lucasfilm Ltd. was acquired by the Walt Disney Company, with longtime Lucas collaborator Kathleen Kennedy named as his successor.

Lucas has also taken a philanthropic role in applying his artistic, technical, and storytelling expertise to the classroom. In 1991 he founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which encourages innovation in K-12 schools by documenting and sharing new evidence-based strategies that promote lifelong learning and prepare students to thrive in their adult lives. The foundation operates under the brand Edutopia, an award-winning website and documentary film program advocating for progressive education reform through access to new technology, such as interactive multimedia environments, to develop 21st-century skills.



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