Star Wars creator George Lucas has been selected by Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute (AFI) to receive the 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award. The honor will be bestowed upon the famed filmmaker at a gala tribute in Los Angeles in June of 2005. USA Network will broadcast the event.
In response to the news, Lucas issued a statement saying, "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. I’m proud to be counted among such an extraordinary group of people whose lives are dedicated to the art of making movies."
According to Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees, Lucas is receiving the award for being both a master storyteller and a pioneer in the art of moving images who has inspired a new generation of filmmakers around the world.
After garnering attention with his University of Southern California short film, Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB, Lucas went on to make a feature version, titled simply THX 1138, in 1971. He had more box-office success with his 1973 effort, American Graffiti, but changed the face of American cinema for ever with the release of Star Wars in 1977. Four hugely successful sequels have followed with another now in production.
Lucas is also credited with creating the Indiana Jones character and is largely responsible for giving us Pixar Animation Studios, which was spun off from Lucasfilms computer graphic research division.
The AFI Life Achievement Award was established on February 26, 1973. Recent recipients include Meryl Streep (2004), Robert De Niro (2003), Tom Hanks 2002, Barbra Streisand (2001) and Harrison Ford (2000). Other filmmakers to receive the honor include Martin Scorsese (1997), Steven Spielberg (1995), Sir David Lean (1990), Billy Wilder (1986), Frank Capra (1982), John Huston (1983), Alfred Hitchcock (1979) Orson Welles (1975) and John Ford (1973).