Friday, June 11, 2010

Ben Burtt receives Silver Award from the Town of San Anselmo

[Photo Credit: berndt2]

Ben Burtt, who helped preserve San Anselmo history in films, has been named a Silver Award winner. Burtt documented the local floods of 1982 and 2005 in “The Great Flood of 1982” and “12/31.” He says, he “collected footage from 15 or 16 different people and added that to my own. The film shows people being rescued, basements being flooded and so on.” 
Burtt, who says he’s always had “a big interest in history,” first became interested in San Anselmo’s while working on the first “Star Wars” film with George Lucas. He became fascinated with pictures he found in the local library that showed some of the changes the town had gone through.
Burtt also made a lengthy audio recording of the town’s historical walking tour, complete with sounds of old San Anselmo. That recording, a celebration of the town’s 2007 centennial, is available for download from the museum’s website.

[see footage online of Burtt’s film @]

Before Skywalker Sound there was Lucasfilm's Sprocket Systems, which opened in 1979 at 321 San Anselmo Avenue in San Anselmo. Film editors worked upstairs on "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Empire Strikes Back" while sound editors downstairs worked on "Alien" and "E.T." Kentfield resident Pat Walsh, discovered while shopping at Seawood Photo, provided the voice for the loveable alien, with the help of actress Debra Winger. Sprocket's parking lot was also notable: It's where Harrison Ford practiced snapping a bullwhip for his role in "Raiders." Sprocket's work on "The Return of the Jedi" came to a halt when the Flood of 1982 ruined equipment. The division moved to Lucafilm's Kerner complex in March of that year.


'The Prisoner of Zenda'
- Playing at the Rafael Film Center on June 13th, 2010 -
Craig Barron, Oscar®-winning visual effects supervisor and Academy governor, and Ben Burtt, Oscar-winning sound designer, will introduce a rare screening of the 1937 adventure-romance 'The Prisoner of Zenda'. Burtt will demonstrate how the sound effects from the film's famous swordfights were achieved.

[via California Film Institute]

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