Cannes Film Festival Honors George Lucas With Honorary Palme d’Or Award

By Nneka Okoli

George Lucas, the iconic filmmaker behind the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” franchises, will receive the Honorary Palme d’Or on May 25 during the closing ceremony of the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

“The Festival de Cannes has always held a special place in my heart,” Lucas said in a statement. “I was surprised and elated when my first film, ‘THX-1138,’ was selected to be shown in a new program for first time directors called the Directors’ Fortnight. Since then, I have returned to the festival on many occasions in a variety of capacities as a writer, director and producer. I am truly honored by this special recognition which means a great deal to me.”

In announcing the Honorary Palme d’Or award, Cannes praised Lucas for building “a Hollywood empire through the nine episodes of the saga — four of which he directed himself,” and for his “unflagging passion for technology” which has made him “one of the pioneers of the visual effects industry.”

Lucas is one of the several cult filmmakers expected at the Cannes Film Festival. While Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux has said the festival would have a smaller number of U.S. films in the official selection due to the impact of the Hollywood strikes, he and his teams have secured several other big names. George Miller will present ” Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” out of competition on May 15, nine years after he unveiled “Mad Max: Fury Road” at the festival in 2015.  Kevin Costner will also make his first trip to the Croisette in 20 years with his Western epic “Horizon, an American Saga.”

Meanwhile, the attendance of Francis Ford Coppola with his latest film “Megalopolis” has not yet been confirmed as distribution plans for the self-produced, big-budget movie are said to still be in the works.

The presence of Lucas at the upcoming festival is a significant coup for the Cannes Film Festival. While “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” world premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Lucas did not attend.

As previously announced, this year’s Cannes jury will be presided over by”Barbie” director Greta Gerwig. The official selection will be announced by Fremaux and Cannes president Iris Knobloch on Thursday at a press conference in Paris.

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