VENICE, Italy — LEGO models of Woody and Buzz Lightyear were unveiled by Disney Consumer Products as part of a dedicated Toy Story-themed family area at the 66th Venice Film Festival. Constructed from 13,600 LEGO bricks in 150 hours, this was the global unveiling of the Woody model which stands at over 6 1/2 feet tall. The Buzz Lightyear model, seen for the first time in Europe, was constructed from 40,000 LEGO bricks in 250 hours by 3 Master Builders and stands just over five feet tall.
At the Festival, John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, as well as Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich of Pixar Animation Studios were awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.
The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 66th Venice International Film Festival (2nd-12th September 2009) was awarded to the American director and producer, John Lasseter – one of the protagonists of the innovation in contemporary animated cinema – and to the directors of Disney*Pixar. Exceptionally in the history of the Venice Film Festival, the award celebrates not only a single filmmaker, but also the contribution of all the directors of this visionary studio.
“John Lasseter is the protagonist of ‘Western’ contemporary animation cinema,” declared Marco Müller. “Always on the lookout for that point at which the avant-garde (whether artistic, technological or formal) meets the blockbuster and the director of magnificent films – such as Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Cars (2006), Lasseter has not only contributed in a fundamental manner to bringing animation cinema to new heights as one of the great expressive forces of the new millennium, but has also become one of the symbols of the most precious, vital and inventive tradition of the great Hollywood cinema.”
“We are particularly pleased to award this Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to one of the great innovators and experimenters of Hollywood,” declared the President of the Venice Biennale, Paolo Baratta. “We believe that the presence of John Lasseter in Venice, with his fellow Disney•Pixar directors, will represent an extraordinary opportunity for them to meet young Italian and European animation filmmakers as part of a workshop organised with the Biennale.”
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George Lucas to Present Award to John Lasseter and Pixar Directors; Pixar to Screen Footage and Teach Classes
ROME (Hollywood Reporter/Reuters) – “Star Wars” creator George Lucas will make his first trip to the Venice Film Festival to present the Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement to John Lasseter and the directors of Disney-Pixar, festival organizers said Thursday.
The presentation, which will take place September 6 in the Palazzo del Cinema’s Sala Grande, will be held in conjunction with screenings of new 3D version of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2.” Lasseter directed both films. The evening also will include the premiere of a 10-minute clip from “The Princess and the Frog,” Disney’s return to hand-drawn animation, and the screening of a new sequence from the in-production project “Toy Story 3.”
A day later, Lasseter and Disney-Pixar’s Brad Bird, Peter Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich will host a two-session master class, with one session reserved for young European animators.
Though the trip will be the first to the Venice festival for Lucas, the fest was the platform for the European release of two of the films in his “Star Wars” series: 1980′s “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” in 1983.
The 66th edition of the Venice Festival opens September 2 and runs through September 12.
(Written By Eric J. Lyman, Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)