It’s one of the biggest honours in the galaxy – for a filmmaker, at least. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is bestowing its highest individual honour on Kathleen Kennedy, the producer and current president of Lucasfilm, the production company behind Star Wars.
The BAFTA Fellowship will be presented at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, 2nd February 2020. Kennedy said: “British filmmaking has always played a significant role in both my life and career. The boundless creative vision of artists such as Tom Stoppard, David Lean, Chris Nolan, Stephen Daldry and Peter Morgan continues to inspire me.”
“The recent Star Wars movies – all shot on sound stages and locations across the UK – are just the latest opportunities that I’ve had the privilege to work with British crews and filmmakers,” she continued, “which began in 1980 with Raiders of the Lost Ark and continued with Temple of Doom, Empire of the Sun, Young Sherlock Holmes, War Horse, The Adventures of Tintin, and others.”
She added: “I am deeply honoured to receive the Fellowship from BAFTA, and am incredibly thankful to have worked with so many talented members of our extended family in the British filmmaking community.”
Kennedy was brought in to spearhead the Star Wars franchise after it was bought by Disney in 2012. Before that, she had enjoyed a ground-breaking career producing many modern classics, including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Gremlins.
She will be joining the ranks of such iconic Fellows as Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, Ken Loach, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Lee and Martin Scorsese.
Last year, the Fellowship was awarded to Thelma Shoonmaker, the editor who is best known – and revered – for her many collaborations with Scorsese, including this year’s Netflix epic The Irishman.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in cinemas on 18th December 2019, with midnight screenings organised around the UK.