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Spike Lee speaker

Spike Lee

New York, USA
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Influential US filmmaker and media icon

Nominated for a Golden Globe, two Academy Awards and four Emmy Awards

Leading commentator on issues of race in mainstream media and Hollywood

Spike Lee has revolutionised the role of black talent in cinema, as a writer-director, actor, producer and educator. As one of the most influential African American voices, he talks candidly, and with authority, about issues of race in mainstream media and Hollywood, using, as a backdrop, a rare behind-the-scenes look at his celebrated body of work.

Widely regarded as one of today’s premier American filmmakers, Lee is a forerunner in the do-it-yourself school of independent film. His debut film, the independently produced comedy She’s Gotta Have It, earned him the Prix de Jeunesse Award at the Cannes Film festival in 1986 and set him at the forefront of the Black New Wave in American Cinema. Lee’s 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film. His epic drama Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington, received two Academy Award nominations.

Other critical and box office successes have included such films as Red Hook Summer, Inside Man, 25th Hour, The Original Kings of Comedy, Bamboozled, and School Daze. Lee’s films Get On the Bus, Do the Right Thing, and Clockers display his ability to showcase a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques that challenge cultural assumptions, not only about race, but class and gender identity as well.

In addition to his achievements in feature films, Lee has produced and directed numerous music videos for such diverse artists as Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Tracy Chapman, Anita Baker, Public Enemy, Bruce Hornsby and Michael Jackson. Lee is also diversely involved in documentaries and sports programs having completed the Emmy and Oscar nominated documentary, 4 Little Girls for HBO, and receiving an Emmy Award for his piece on Georgetown’s John Thompson for HBO/Real Sports.

Lee has authored six books on the making of his films. Partnering with DDB Needham, he has also created Spike/DDB, a full service advertising agency that will concentrate on the urban/ethnic market.

Our Comment

"Spike Lee is known for tackling prickly issues of relevance to the African-American community in his films, which have been described as “consciousness-tweaking.” He talks mirror his movies; they examine race relations, colorism in the black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues."

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