October 26, 2004


TOLUCA LAKE, CA - The Motion Picture Sound Editors (www.mpse.org) will present their Inaugural "Filmmaker's Award" to director/producer George Lucas for his outstanding contributions to the art of sound. The award will be presented at the 52nd Annual Golden Reel Awards scheduled to be held Saturday, February 26, 2005, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

Lucas, the creator of "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones," is being recognized for his consistently innovative and groundbreaking use of sound technology in his films, and for the contributions he has made to advancing the state of sound in the movie-going experience.

Lucas studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California, where he directed award-winning short films, including the acclaimed "Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB." The film was noted for its creative use of sound effects, music and off-camera dialogue to help create a futuristic world. After graduating from USC, he teamed with Walter Murch to create the sound design for a feature version of THX 1138, produced by Francis Ford Coppola. They also teamed to create the influential musical montages that permeated Lucas's popular second film, "American Graffiti."

Faced with the daunting challenge of creating a whole universe of organic sound effects for 1977's "Star Wars," Lucas hired then-student Ben Burtt to begin recording sound effects for the film long before it went into production. "Star Wars" pushed the envelope for film sound in many ways. In addition to giving creative opportunities to the sound editors, Lucas insisted on releasing the film using the newly introduced Dolby Stereo-optical, as well as creating a 6-channel stereo mix for a 70 mm release.

In 1983, frustrated with the quality of sound reproduction in most theaters, Lucas hired Tomlinson Holman to head a new division of Lucasfilm, appropriately named THX (both in homage to Lucas's first film and as an acronym for the "Tomlinson Holman Experiment"). THX was charged with creating a new set of both audio and visual standards for motion picture theatrical presentation. Competition from THX theaters has compelled exhibitors to include high-quality sound systems in all new theaters.

In 1987, Lucas founded Skywalker Sound, which provides comprehensive audio post production services for the feature film, television, and game industries. Since opening, Skywalker Sound has garnered 17 Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Sound Editing. Seven of these were won by Gary Rydstrom, who will receive the MPSE Career Achievement Award on the same night as the Filmmaker Award.

With his return to feature-film directing in 1999, with "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace," Lucas expanded the film sound experience with the debut of Dolby Digital Surround EX, the 6.1-channel theater surround sound format co-developed with THX Ltd.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Lucas for his contributions to the film industry in 1992, bestowing on him the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and has been nominated four times for the Oscar as best writer and best director. He has also been nominated for two Golden Globes, two Emmys, two DGA awards and three WGA awards.

Among the other films that Lucas has helped bring to the screen as a producer include "Willow," "Tucker: The Man and his Dream," "Mishima" and "Kagemusha."

"Sound is 50 percent of the movie-going experience, and I've always believed audiences are moved and excited by what they hear in my movies at least as much as by what they see," says Lucas. "I'm honored by the MPSE's decision to recognize my work with such a tremendous award."