For the past few days, filmmakers, critics and fans have gathered in Park City, Utah, at the independent filmmaking Mecca known as the Sundance Film Festival to watch new movies, find distributors for their films and discuss cinema and the process of making it. Among them this year was one of the most successful independent filmmakers of all time: Star Wars creator George Lucas.
On Thursday, Lucas and fellow independent film icon (and Sundance namesake) Robert Redford came together onstage for a panel titled "Power of Story: Visions of Independence," moderated by film critic Leonard Maltin. What followed was more than an hour of discussion about filmmaking, visual effects, Hollywood and the future of independent film. Lucas, whose animated fantasy film Strange Magic was just released, didn't hold back in his criticism of Hollywood and its tendency to make "circus" movies. Though he acknowledged that he often gets blamed for helping create the modern blockbuster, he still believes there's more depth to Star Wars than people give him credit for.
“If you go into Star Wars and see what’s going on there, there’s a lot more substance than circus,” he said.
Lucas is also well known for his business sense and the companies he founded -- including Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound -- to move along his own production process. For him, he said, that was simply a matter of necessity at the time.
"In the process of [making] Star Wars, there were no visual-effects houses, so I had to make one," he said. "Everything I've ever done has been to make the process easier and to open up the imagination. Every job in ILM has been created for a particular shot or a particular movie."
You can watch the full discussion, including everything from diversity in filmmaking to how Lucas really made his money (hint: toys) below.