Ben Burtt brings the force to film

Star Wars sound editor inspires future filmmakers

By Katelynn Long, Contributing Writer
November 20, 2014
The Campus

Two production classes gathered into the small screening room in the Vukovich Center to listen to Benjamin Pickering Burtt speak on Monday, Nov. 10.

Burtt is a four-time Academy Award winner for his sound editing skills. He graduated from Allegheny in 1970, where he received his undergraduate degree in physics.

Assistant professor of communication arts John Reilly and professor Michael Keeley took a break from their typical lectures and let Burtt run their classes.

“[Burtt]’s talk was immensely important for the introductory production students because it allowed them to witness the creative measures he took during his early filmmaking days with limited means and rudimentary equipment,” said Reilly. “At the same time, it also allowed them to hear how he still considers the very basic components of effective storytelling even though he now has unlimited production resources and technology at his disposal.”

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Photo by Joe Bruch