Spike Lee

IN THE CANNES: The Cannes Film Festival has selected American director Spike Lee to be the president of the jury for its 73rd edition, scheduled for May 12 to 23. “I’m honored to be the first person of the African diaspora to be named president of the Cannes jury and of a main film festival,” said the cult Brooklyn-based filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, editor and producer.

Lee’s first full-length film, “She’s Gotta Have It,” won the Prix de la Jeunesse at Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight back in 1986. In 2018, after a 22-year absence from the festival, he returned with “BlacKkKlansman,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes and earned Lee his first Academy Award, for the movie’s screenplay.

“To me the Cannes Film Festival — besides being the most important film festival in the world, no disrespect to anybody — has had a great impact on my film career,” Lee said. “You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema.”

Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux, respectively president and general delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, jointly stated, “Spike Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever. Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who (re)awaken minds and question our stances and fixed ideas. Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up.”

Lee succeeds Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose jury last year awarded the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for “Parasite,” which last week also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film.

The official selection and members of the 2020 jury are expected to be revealed in mid-April.

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