|George Lucas in Love|
George Lucas in Love is a student film that started attracting notice in June 1999 when it was passed around Hollywood offices as a filmmaker's "calling card". It is an homage and spoof of both Star Wars and Shakespeare in Love. The film was directed by Joe Nussbaum, who financed the film with money his grandmother left him. Nussbaum recruited dozens of fellow University of Southern California film school graduates to help him with his movie. The casting director, musical composer, and executive producer are all alumni.
In the film, George Lucas is a USC college student in 1967, and is suffering from writer's block as he tries to write a movie about a young space farmer with a bad crop of space wheat. Everywhere he goes, viewers see classmates and teachers that either resemble or will influence the creation of Darth Vader, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Jabba the Hutt, not to mention R2-D2 and C-3PO. Lucas is surrounded by inspiration, but sees nothing. Not even his adviser, who looks and talks suspiciously like Yoda, is able to help him.
Eventually, young Lucas meets his muse, a young woman (with a very unusual hairdo) at the head of a student rebellion. After they meet, everything falls into place for Lucas, as she urges him to "write what you know." Lucas' writers block quickly dissipates and he pounds out his masterpiece. However, his shot at romance with the young woman is blown when they both discover that they are siblings, having the same mother.
Awards and recognitionEdit
The film received great attention as it circulated around Hollywood in the summer of 1999, and eventually premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 19 that year. It debuted online at MediaTrip.com on October 12, 1999, and has proven very popular with both regular audiences and Star Wars fans ever since. The film has won several awards, including the Canal+ Short Film Award at the 2000 Deauville American Film Festival, the Audience Award at both the Florida Film Festival and the San Sebastián Horror and Fantasy Film Festival, and was awarded Best Short Film at the 2000 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
When the film was released on VHS in 2000, The New York Times reported that the film made it to #1 on Amazon.com's Top 10 sales chart, beating out sales of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for a day. A DVD with audio commentary by the director and behind-the-scenes featurette was released in 2001. The DVD also included several other MediaTrip short films, including Evil Hill, Film Club, and Swing Blade.
Nussbaum eventually signed a directing deal with DreamWorks Pictures, and went on to direct four feature films.