Disney-Pixar lionized in Venice

Mueller compares studio with Renaissance artists

Sunday was Disney-Pixar Day on the Lido with inflatables and a bouquet of balloons fluttering in the breeze as John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich received the fest’s first collective Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.

Fest topper Marco Mueller compared Disney-Pixar to “a Renaissance painter’s studio where next to Raphael you had a group of other artists.”

Lasseter, chief creative officer at Disney-Pixar, thanked Mueller for picking the Pixar team, which he described as “a bunch of animation geeks from California.” “The thing that I am most happy about is to sit here and share this with my colleagues,” he said. “I don’t do this by myself.”

Lasseter also tipped his hat to George Lucas, who made his first trek to Venice to hand the Pixar team the nod. “George Lucas is still part of us and we are so thankful to him,” Lasseter said. “He is a true visionary.”

Before Pixar’s inception in 1986, Lasseter worked in the graphics group of the computer division at Lucas’ Lucasfilm, where he designed the glass knight for 1985’s “Young Sherlock Holmes,” the first character made by computer for a live-action film. The computer graphics unit of Lucasfilm was purchased by Steve Jobs who turned it into Pixar.

Venice’s Disney-Pixar tribute included the world preems of the 3-D versions of “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” plus a sneak peek of “Toy Story 3,” as well as the world bow of a 10-minute clip of Disney’s, “The Princess and the Frog” — the Mouse’s return to hand-drawn animation.

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