VENICE, Italy — Animation guru John Lasseter and his "brothers in creative film making" at Disney/Pixar received a career Golden Lion at the Venice film festival Sunday.
"This is a tremendous honour," Lasseter said at the ceremony in the Sala Grande of the Lido's Palazzo del Cinema, flanked by Disney/Pixar directors Brad Bird, Peter Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich.
"Pixar is founded on true creative collaboration," he said after receiving the award from George Lucas, who sold off the embryonic Pixar -- then Lucasfilm's computer graphics division -- in 1986 for 10 million dollars.
"These are my best friends and my brothers in creative film making," Lasseter said. "Our dream is always simple: to entertain our audiences around the world, everybody."
Lucas offered congratulations to "my little backroom operation that started in 1979" and went on the create such films as "Finding Nemo," "Wally", "The Incredibles", and the "Toy Story" series.
"It was a company that was founded on talent, primarily the talent of John Lasseter, who showed his stuff, a rebel who wanted to do digital animation before there was such a thing," Lucas said.
The company went on "to make hit after hit, which means every one of them works, primarily by nurturing talent: That has rewarded him and Pixar tenfold."
When festival director Marco Mueller told Lasseter that he and Pixar were selected for the award, he said: "I quickly went online and looked at the other Golden Lions, and said, 'Wait a minute, a Golden Lion for a bunch of animation geeks from northern California'?"
Lasseter also noted that it was the first time a studio had been so recognised, which he said "is so appropriate for Pixar because we have 250 filmmakers working on every movie we do."
The Mostra festival screened 3-D versions of "Toy Story 1" and its sequel on Sunday, as well as five minutes of the unfinished "Toy Story 3".
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