FRANCE – A huge congratulations is in order for Spike Lee, who has just made history, becoming the first African American jury president of the Cannes Film Festival in its 73-year history.
Lee will preside over the body of artists who choose which films will receive an award. He succeeds Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose 2019 jury awarded the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the French film festival, to Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite.”
The 62-year-old legendary director released a statement which read, in part:
“In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere. When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be President of Cannes Jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time.”
Lee is no stranger to the festival, with his longstanding relationship dating back to 1986, when “She’s Gotta Have It,” his first feature film, won the Prix de la Jeunesse in the Director’s Fortnight.
Lee’s other films, including “Do the Right Thing” (1989), “Jungle Fever” (1991), “Summer of Sam” (1999) and “Ten Minutes Older” (2002) have also received various recognitions from the festival.
His latest work, “”BlacKkKlansman” (2018), won the Grand Prix at Cannes, therefore it is quite deserving that Lee is leading the selection process this year.