March 19, 2009

Lucas, Spielberg to attend Kurosawa gala

George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese have agreed to help celebrate the establishment of the Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film.

The university said Lucas, Spielberg and Scorsese are slated to attend a tribute Monday, the 99th anniversary of Kurosawa's birth. The Japanese filmmaker died in 1998 at age 88. His films included Rashomon, Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Dersu Uzala and Kagemusha.

The tribute is part of the Cherry Blossom Gala, a black-tie extravaganza of culture and the arts to be presided over by television announcer/actor Shadoe Stevens at the Beverly Hills Hotel Crystal Ballroom in Beverly Hills, Calif., organizers said.

Stars have been flown in from Japan to perform the evening's Japanese-themed entertainment, which is to include kimono-clad models, traditional Awa dancers and a film concert/condensed screening of Kurosawa's award-winning Ran by the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra, led by the acclaimed Japanese conductor Tomomi Nishimoto.

The Walt Disney Co., Jim Henson Co. and Leonardo DiCaprio are to receive awards as the university recognizes the environmental and social responsibilities of filmmakers, principles which the Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film said it would strive to incorporate in its online Digital Film programs, slated to kick off in September.

Kurosawa was the master of today's cinematic leaders, so we really expect the glitterati to be in attendance on March 23 for what promises to be a spectacular evening, Darrell Nelson of the university's international liaison office said in a statement.