57th San Francisco International Film Festival will Present 2014 George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award to John Lasseter

Academy Award–Winning Director, Producer and Industry Powerhouse to Receive Honor at Film Society Awards Night at the Regency Center, May 1


The San Francisco Film Society announced today that John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer at Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, will be the recipient of the George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award at the 57th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 24-May 8). The award will be presented to Lasseter at Film Society Awards Night, Thursday, May 1 at the Regency Center. The George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award, given in tribute to the longstanding Film Society chairman of the board who passed away in 2013, honors a worthy member of the filmmaking community for their outstanding and unique contributions to the art of cinema.

The Film Society and its year-round programs in exhibition, education and filmmaker services will be the beneficiary of the fundraiser honoring Lasseter. Founder's Directing Award recipient Richard Linklater, Kanbar screenwriting award recipient Stephen Gaghan, and the soon-to-be-announced recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting will also be honored at the star-studded event. Victoria Raiser and Todd Traina are co-chairs of this year's Film Society Awards Night gala.

"John Lasseter created the look and feel of contemporary animation and, at the same time, redefined the meaning of entertainment, storytelling and even the very idea of fun itself," said Noah Cowan, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society. "It is difficult to imagine a more innovative filmmaker working today, and he is an artist who has truly married high art and cutting edge technology to forge entirely new worlds."

John Lasseter is an Academy Award-winning director and creatively oversees all films and associated projects from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Lasseter's feature directorial debut Toy Story was the first-ever feature-length computer-animated film and he has since then directed A Bug's LifeToy Story 2, Cars and Cars 2. In addition, he has executive produced more than 15 feature films including Pixar's Academy Award-winning Finding NemoWALL•EUpToy Story 3and Brave, and Disney's BoltTangledWreck-It Ralph and the Academy Award-winning Frozen. As the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, Lasseter successfully launched Cars Land in 2012, a 12-acre expansion at Disney California Adventure Park, for Disneyland Resorts.

Lasseter has received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the 66th Venice International Film Festival, the Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery award from the Art Directors Guild, and the 2008 Winsor McCay Award from ASIFA-Hollywood. He was also the first animation producer to receive the PGA's David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. Lasseter wrote, directed and animated Luxo Jr., the first three-dimensional computer-animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, and Tin Toy, the first three-dimensional computer-animated film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. He received a Special Achievement Oscar in 1995 for his inspired leadership of the Toy Story team, and also earned an Academy Award nomination as part of the screenwriting team for that film, the first time an animated feature had ever been recognized in that category.
George Gund III was an avid film lover and distinguished philanthropist whose unwavering support of the San Francisco Film Society spanned more than four decades. He led SFFS and its annual San Francisco International Film Festival into a period of unprecedented growth and success, resulting in a robust year-round cultural organization that now reaches more cinema enthusiasts and supports more filmmakers than any other time in its history. Created in 2011, the George Gund III Award pays homage to Gund for the more than 40 years of service to the organization and will be given periodically to a member of the film community in recognition of their distinguished service to cinema as an art form.

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57th San Francisco International Film Festival
The 57th San Francisco International Film Festival runs April 24-May 8 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, Castro Theatre and New People Cinema in San Francisco and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Held each spring for 15 days, the International is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country's most beautiful cities, featuring 200 films and live events, 14 juried awards and nearly $40,000 in cash prizes, upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests and diverse and engaged audiences with more than 65,000 in attendance.