Hollywood icons pay tribute to Akira Kurosawa; launch online film school

MUMBAI: The stars come out again in Hollywood as film legends George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese take part in an All-Star Tribute to the late filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and celebrate the launch of the Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film on 23 March, 2009. The day would have marked the 99th birthday of Kurosawa, one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema inspiring such films as Star Wars, A Fistful of Dollars, the Magnificent Seven, Last Man Standing, A Bug’s Life, Lucky Number Seven and Vantage Point.

The tribute is part of the Cherry Blossom Gala, a black-tie extravaganza of culture and the arts hosted by television announcer/actor Shadoe Stevens at the Beverly Hills Hotel Crystal Ballroom. Stars have also been flown in from Japan to perform the evening’s Japanese-themed entertainment with over 150 performers, which includes traditional "Awa" dancers, and a film concert/ condensed screening of Kurosawa’s award-winning "Ran" by the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra led by Japanese female conductor Tomomi Nishimoto.

Along side this there will be a special tribute to the late American TV and Film Actress and Star of the 1988 film Tokyo Pop Ms. Carrie Hamilton (daughter of Actress and Comedienne Carol Burnett), as well as others who influenced and contributed to the film school’s development.

The evening will also see awards being presented to the Walt Disney Company, Jim Henson Company and Leonardo DiCaprio as it recognizes the environmental and social responsibilities of today’s filmmakers, principles which the Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film strives to incorporate in its online Digital Film programs slated for September this year.

According to Anaheim University International Liaison Office director Darrell Nelson, "Kurosawa was the master of today’s cinematic leaders, so we really expect the glitterati to be in attendance on March 23rd for what promises to be a spectacular evening."

The Gala is organized by Anaheim University, the Academia Foundation and the AK100 Project, sponsored by Japan Airlines and endorsed by the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles, the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California.