George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, stewards of the Star Wars universe and numerous other notable motion pictures, are being honored by the Producers Guild of America for their contributions to the film industry. The PGA said Friday that Lucas and Kennedy will receive the Milestone Award at the Producers Guild Awards in March, joining the ranks of previous honorees that include Louis B. Mayer, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg.
Lucas, in a statement, said the award is a celebration of all that goes into bringing stories to life: “Protecting creativity while balancing business, moving technology forward to make real what you can see in your mind’s eye and doing it all from scratch most of the time.”
Lucas, in addition to films he’s directed from “American Graffiti” to “Star Wars,” has produced and executive produced for the likes of Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Akira Kurosawa all while building the Lucasfilm empire, including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound.
“Being recognized alongside my longtime friend and fellow producer Kathleen Kennedy makes this honoring of our shared and individual works even more meaningful,” Lucas continued.
He and Kennedy shared friends and collaborators and both worked on “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” her through the production company she co-founded with Spielberg and Frank Marshall, Amblin Entertainment. Kennedy’s credits include “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Schindler’s List,” “Jurassic Park” and the “Back to the Future” films. In 2012 she became co-chair of Lucasfilm with Lucas. A few months later, when the company was acquired by Disney, Lucas stepped aside and Kennedy became president, where she has produced the newest Star Wars trilogy and various spinoffs.
“I am very honored to share this award with George Lucas who has inspired a generation of filmmakers who were coming of age, not only through his storytelling but through technological innovation that unlocked our imagination,” Kennedy said in a statement.
Producers Guild of America presidents, Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher, added in a joint statement that Lucas and Kennedy have, “carved out a fantastic empire of entertainment that inspires and entertains billions, all with the highest levels of both creative and technical achievement.
"What George has built through his movies and through Lucasfilm has enriched every facet of filmmaking, and his colossal creativity and technical genius amazed the world. Kathleen has ascended to the highest levels of our industry, facing ever-changing challenges each time she succeeded in producing one of the brilliant and boundary breaking films she is known for. And since joining Lucasfilm as president, she has expertly exalted its IP to be even more influential and treasured around the world...We’re very proud to honor George and Kathleen as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lucasfilm.”
The 33rd Producers Guild Awards will take place at an untelevised event in Los Angeles on March 19.
Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press