George Lucas

Homage to Akira Kurosawa

Star Wars creator donates $1.5 million to cinema-TV for a digital studio in memory of the late great Japanese director.

ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING director George Lucas ’66 has given $1.5 million to the USC School of Cinema-Television to fund a state-of-the-art digital studio named after the famous Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The new facility will be located in the new Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, which began construction last June.
The digital studio at USC will honor the late director-writer who was respectfully known as the “emperor” of Japanese cinema for such classic films as Rashomon, The Seven Samurai and Ran. Considered one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century, Kurosawa received many awards during his career.
“Kurosawa was one of film’s true greats,” said Lucas, a cinema-television alumnus. “His ability to transform a vision into a powerful work of art is unparalleled. So it seemed appropriate to name the new digital stage after him. This way, we pay tribute to Kuro-sawa while at the same time inspiring students to break new ground the way he did.”
Designed to incorporate the most innovative technical advancements for storytelling, the new Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts will be pivotal in training filmmakers and television creators of the future. Construction is being funded in large part by a $5 million donation (announced last year) from Zemeckis, who is also a USC cinema school alumnus.



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