Director aims to bring doc to Cannes in '09

CANNES — Spike Lee is set to shoot a feature-length documentary about Michael Jordan. Helmer told a Cannes crowd that he hopes to bring the basketball legend to the fest with the pic next year.

The NBA is financing the docu, with Lee’s 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks shingle producing.

Lee was on the Croisette to tubthump his $43 million Italy-set WWII drama “Miracle at St. Anna,” an eight-minute promo of which unspooled for press and buyers Monday.

Based on the eponymous book by bestselling U.S. author James McBride, “Miracle” will be completed in late July, with Touchstone Pictures releasing the pic Stateside on Oct. 10, following a likely launch in Toronto, Venice or both.

True tale concerns four members of the U.S. Army’s 92nd Division consisting of black soldiers, who in 1944 were trapped in a Tuscan village and had to contend with both racist commanders and the Nazis.

It’s about “black men who at the time when they were still considered second-class citizens in America were fighting the Fascists in Italy and becoming liberators of Italians,” Lee told Daily Variety.

“Miracle” is an entirely European pic, produced by Italy’s Roberto Cicutto and Lugi Musini, via their new On My Own shingle, with Gaul’s TF1 handling sales and 01 Distribuzione releasing in Italy.

Lee called the pic’s production structure a “miracle” that materialized last year after he was unable to find the “right” money in Hollywood for his planned James Brown biopic and a film about the L.A. riots.

Jordan docu will include extensive unseen footage shot by NBA cameras during the final two years in Jordan’s career, the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. Lee and Jordan previously collaborated on a series of Nike TV commercials.

“Mike wants to come to Cannes, so hopefully we will be here next year,” Lee said.

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