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Entries in Gary Kurtz (3)


Guardian masterclass on Star Wars with Gary Kurtz

The Guardian newspaper is running a film-mkaing masterclass in Edinburgh on 24-25 March 2012 with Gary Kurtz and former vice president of 20th Century Fox International Sandy Lieberson. From the course description:

A weekend for fans of Star Wars and sci-fi. We will examine how a film rejected by most of the major studios was put into production by 20th Century Fox and went on to became one of the most iconic films in the history of cinema.

Star Wars was released in 1977 by 20th Century Fox and became one of the most successful and universally adored films of all time. But what is it that made Star Wars such a successful and exhilarating cinematic experience? Was it down to the film's groundbreaking visual effects? Perhaps the age-old story of good versus evil captured the imagination of its global audience? What role did marketing and merchandising play in influencing its reception?

Now, over a weekend, Gary Kurtz (producer of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and American Graffiti,) and former vice president of 20th Century Fox International Sandy Lieberson (producer credits include Performance and Rita, Sue and Bob Too) are offering Star Wars fans the opportunity to find out what really went on behind the scenes of this iconic feature film.

Through a series of interactive seminars during which there will be regular opportunities for Q&A, Gary and Sandy will offer first-hand insights into the development, production and marketing that made this film a defining moment in the history of cinema. Particular areas of focus will be:

- The film's origins and inspirations
- Script
- Visual and audio development
- Special effects
- Editing
- Pre- and post-production
- Marketing
- Distribution

In addition, Gary and Sandy will explore how Star Wars emerged from the mist of 1970s American new wave cinema while offering an expert point of view on the film's enduring legacy.

During the weekend there will be breaks when participants will have the opportunity to talk directly with Gary and Sandy as well as with each other. Be part of an in-depth Star Wars weekend.

The course is £99.

The Guardian: Star Wars weekend with the film's Oscar-nominated producer


Gary Kurtz tells us what we already know about the prequels

From comes a video excerpt from the upcoming DVD release of The People vs. George Lucas in which famed Star Wars and Empire producer Gary Kurtz tells us what he thinks of the prequels. Follow the link below for the video. From's blurb:

Now that the Star Wars series is out on Blu-ray with all sorts of additional tweaks made by the ever-tinkering George Lucas, it's generating debate about his three prequels once again. Expect that conversation to heat up even further with the release of Lionsgate's documentary The People vs. George Lucas, coming to DVD on October 25. In this exclusive clip from the DVD's special features, the prequels are unfavorably dissected by Gary Kurtz, a producer of Star WarsThe Empire Strikes Back, and American Graffiti, who acknowledges the movies' technical expertise while admitting he has "trouble with them on several different levels," including story and character. Star Wars Producer on the Prequels: ‘I’m Not a Fan’


Gary Kurtz on Star Wars and merchandizing

Here's a great article from the LA Times (August 2010) about producer Gary Kurtz's involvement with, and departure from, Star Wars. Kurtz produced the first two films but split with Lucas in the lead-up to Return of the Jedi.

“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz said. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”

He added: “The first film and ‘Empire’ were about story and character, but I could see that George’s priorities were changing.”


“I don’t like the idea of prequels, they make the filmmakers back in to material they’ve already covered and it boxes in the story,” Kurtz said. “I think they did a pretty good job with them although I have to admit I never liked Hayden Christensen in the role of Anakin Skywalker. I just wished the stories had been stronger and that the dialogue had been stronger. It gets meek. I’m not sure the characters ever felt real like they did in ‘Empire.’”

Did ‘Star Wars’ become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back