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Film Studies
Jie Lu
Program Director
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

The Lucas Link

George Lucas, center, Patti McCarthy, far right, and graduate studentsIn the summer of 2013, several Pacific filmmaker graduate students met with George Lucas as part of the Historic Modesto Graffiti Route project and 40th Anniversary of American Graffiti. George was Grand Marshall of the Modesto American Graffiti "Cruise" parade, an event that celebrated the moment-in-time captured by Lucas in his classic film, "American Graffiti." 

A Lucas connection to Pacific students? They may seem light-years apart, but Lucas, who grew up in Modesto, and his family has always had deep roots in the Central Valley. In the summer of 2011, Prof. Patti McCarthy collaborated with Wendy Lucas, George's sister, to research and write the copy for four different kiosks along the Historic Graffiti Cruise Route: #2 American Graffiti, #19 George Lucas: The Early Years, #20 George Lucas: Visionary Filmmaker, and #22 Local Lucas History: Where Were You in '62? 

In 2013, McCarthy was asked to assemble a crew of graduate students to make short, mini-documentary films that tied into the kiosks that discussed American Graffiti and George Lucas's life and work. 

"We wanted  a graduate 'student' crew to be given the opportunity to work on this project because the Historic Graffiti Cruise Route celebrates George's early years living in Modesto and those things he experienced while living there - like cruising, comic books, love of movies, early filmmaking, and photography - that later influenced him as a filmmaker," McCarthy said.

The graduate student crew that collaborated on these films were from both University of the Pacific and University of Southern California; in fact, many of the students in the crew attended and graduated from both Pacific and USC and had studied with McCarthy previously.

The team was tasked with creating four mini documentaries for kiosks that are part of the the the Historic Graffiti Cruise Route project. They play tribute to George Lucas and his time spent cruising the 10th and 11th Street loop in downtown Modesto which was the inspiration for American Graffiti. 25 permanent kiosks have been installed along 10th and 11th Street in Modesto for tourists to visit that discuss cruising, the history of Modesto, and George's life and work on American Graffiti

Visitors to the area can read the short biographies and histories on each kiosk, but also can use QR codes that have been placed in the corner of each kiosk which allows the visitor access to short documentary films (8-14 min. each) via smart phones, etc. 

"It seemed only natural that I ask graduate students from USC to work in collaboration with other Pacific graduates on a project that focused on George's early life in Modesto and later film work," McCarthy said.  "I've had a lot of fun working with these talented graduate student filmmakers as both professor and film professional and know how hard they have worked to create these little films. These mini-docs will be part of a permanent display and enduring legacy that celebrates the life and work of George Lucas in his hometown of Modesto. People from around the world will be able to enjoy these films and learn more about George and hopefully, also be inspired, like him, to follow their dreams. Modesto, after all is really where it all started. Besides, George Lucas, was the inspiration for many of these students to become filmmakers...so to be able to make these films about George's life was really a labor of love for these students and a dream come true." 

Graduate Student Crew:  George Lucas with film students
Andy Crete (Pacific graduate, BA '12--Applying to USC film school) Director, Editor  
Erik Howell (USC School of Cinematic Arts, MFA, '12) Editor, Director  
Philips Shum (Pacific transfer, BA, USC School of Cinematic Arts, MFA, 11') Director of Photography  
Jorge Ramirez-Martinez (Pacific graduate, BA, '08, USC School of Cinematic Arts, MFA, '12) Producer  
Kari Barber (USC School of Cinematic Arts, MFA. '12) Sound Design
Sawyer JB Ennis (Pacific graduate, BA '12, currently in MFA program at Academy of Art in SF) Sound Design, Music/Composer  
Melanie Hash (Pacific graduate, BA '09) Associate Producer  
Kyle Gundlach (Pacific BA '09, USC School of Theatre, MFA '12) Narrator