Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lucas Talks Small. Thinks Big

Despite making hundreds of millions of dollars on big-budget VFX tent-pole features, George "Star Wars" Lucas says it is 'small' films that are the wave of the future.

"We don't want to make movies," he said.

"We're about to get into television. As far as Lucasfilm is concerned, we've moved away from the feature film thing, because it's too expensive and it's too risky.

Lucas spoke to reporters after a groundbreaking ceremony for the renamed School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC), donating $175 million to the school for endowment and buildings.

"Right now we're doing television, which looks great. I'm very very happy with it," he said of his new Lucas Animation division.

"And out of doing the animation, we're getting the skill set and the people and putting the studio in place so we can do a feature."

He calls himself "semi-retired" but will direct, "small movies, esoteric in nature," after executive producing two features and several TV series, including a live-action episodic "Star Wars".

Lucas said his 'gift' is intended to set an example for the entertainment industry and other universities.

"As self-interest, it's good to have the best trained people working for you. And the best trained people come from film school. The world of moving images hasn't had a lot of respect, but it's the major form of communication in the 21st century."

This $175 million, he said, is meant to "put other universities on notice that this is an important discipline that needs to be fostered."