Venice film festival to honor Lasseter, Pixar

Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:30am EST
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ROME (Reuters) - John Lasseter and the directors of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios will receive a career award at this year's Venice film festival for revolutionizing animation cinema, organizers said on Monday.

Lasseter and Pixar, which merged with Walt Disney in 2006, are behind animation blockbusters such as "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and more recently "WALL-E," which has been nominated for best animated feature at next month's Academy Awards.

Animation cinema has featured prominently at the Venice film showcase in recent years and festival director Marco Mueller is known to be a fan of the genre.

Still, this year's choice appears to mark a break from the more independent, mostly live-action directors who received the lifetime achievement award on the Lido.

Recent winners include Ermanno Olmi, David Lynch, Tim Burton and Hayao Miyazaki.

Organizers said Lasseter, a two-time Oscar winner who is the chief creative officer at Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, was "one of the great innovators and experimenters of Hollywood."

The Venice festival this year runs Sept 2-12.

(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and executive producer of the animated film "Bolt" from Walt Disney Animation Studios, poses with the character Bolt at the film's premiere in Hollywood November 17, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>