Hey all, I'm here in Goleta next door to where the Santa Barbara International Film festival is going on, and last night James Cameron was presented the festival's Modern Master Award by the governator himself! I guess I should have been there...but the $70 to get in will get me into 5 showings of Avatar (+popcorn) instead (count at 14 now)...soooo, here's some bits from the front page NewsPress article about it. Cameron remarked on how Avatar is a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing, and producer Jon Landau gives a hint on the sequel planning too!
TYLER BLUE, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT February 7, 2010 6:38 AM
"Box office king James Cameron, director of the two highest-grossing movies in cinema history, received more royal treatment on Saturday night as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, star of Mr. Cameron's "Terminator" films, presented his longtime friend with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Modern Master Award."
"Avatar" producer Jon Landau walked the red carpet with his wife. When asked if he had lost the "wow factor" with the film after being so immersed in the project, replied, "Not yet. I've loved this film from day one." He mentioned what an intense commitment it was for the cast and crew to be involved for four years. He revealed that a group of department heads held a retreat in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago to lay down the groundwork for a sequel to "Avatar."
Gov. Schwarzenegger eschewed the red carpet, but presented the award at the end of the night. In addition to "The Terminator," Mr. Cameron directed Mr. Schwarzenegger in "T2: Judgment Day" and "True Lies."
When the man of the hour finally hit the red carpet with his wife, Suzie Amis, he took his time answering questions. After his famous "I'm the king of the world" exclamation during his acceptance speech at the 1998 Oscars, many assume he has a monster ego. But it was nowhere to be found as he instead spoke about the importance of the spiritual elements of "Avatar."
"There was a point when I came back to doing theatrical filmmaking and I thought, 'If I'm going to make a film, it has (to have) some greater meaning and a conscience to it.' I think 'Avatar' is a little bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing in that way," he told the News-Press. "You can certainly enjoy it just on the surface level, but there's a lot more going on about our interconnectiveness as humans to each other and to this greater web of nature."
After more philosophizing about the way humans are impacting the planet, he added, "I feel a little bit like I'm preaching to the choir here, saying this in Santa Barbara, because back in the early '70s this was ground zero for the environmental movement after the big oil spill. There's still a very strong sense of social consciousness in Santa Barbara. This is a very good place to be honored."
Very good story, wish I'd been there, the full article can be found on the SBNP site, but you have to register to see it.