A new precedent was set at the ongoing Venice Film Festival. Disney's chief creative officer John Lasseter and four Pixar directors were awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.
Along with their families, the Pixar team, which included Lasseter and fellow-directors Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, were joined on a balloon-filled red carpet by life-size models from their films. The charmed audience instantly recognized characters such as Buzz Lightyear and Woody from "Toy Story", and Russell and Carl Fredrickson from "Up".
George Lucas flew in to present the Golden Lion in recognition of their work in animation.
It is the first time in the festival's long history that the award honors not just one filmmaker, but an entire studio. Lasseter is a two-time Academy Award-winning director, for "Toy Story" and "Tin Toy."
John Lasseter said, "Well you know when you speak to every film maker they always go back to something they saw as a child that got them so exited about film as an art form that this is what they wanted to do and it is so exiting to have George Lucas here cause ' Star Wars ' is one of the great moments in my life you know how that movie entertained me and I tell you that is what we hope our films are doing for young people that they look at this because it is so much fun to work in film. "
For Pixar, Bird directed "Ratatouille" and "The Incredible". Stanton is the director of "Finding Nemo" and Unkrich directed the upcoming "Toy Story 3" feature.
To mark the occasion, the festival premiered 3D versions of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2," which are set for theatrical release in the United States later in the fall. The festival runs this year from September 2nd to the 12th.