Spike Lee is set to preside over the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which is expected to take place July 6-17. The director and activist will be the first Black president of the festival’s jury.
Lee was on track to preside over last year’s festival which was canceled due to the pandemic, and had vowed to return to the French Rivera-set festival if the health situation allowed for it. Lee was also supposed to have his film “Da 5 Bloods” play out of competition last year, marking Netflix’s return to the Official Selection.
Several of Lee’s films — including “She’s Gotta Have It” (1986), “Do the Right Thing” (1989) and “BlacKkKlansman” (2018) — have premiered in Cannes.
In a video call (featured above) with Cannes’ general delegate Thierry Fremaux, Lee said he will always have a “deep, deep spot for Cannes in (his) heart.”
“Way back in 1986, my very first film “She’s Gotta Have It” played there and it was my introduction to the world of cinema,” said Lee, adding that he also have a “special place in (his) heart for Paris, for France.”
“It’s going to be magnifique! (…) Book my flight now, my wife and I are coming!,” said Lee.
Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes Film Festival, said “Lee has never stopped encouraging (them) throughout the months of uncertainty we’ve just been through.” “This support is finally coming to fruition and we could not have hoped for a more powerful personality to chart our troubled times,” said Lescure.
Thierry Frémaux, Cannes’ general delegate, said: “(Lee’s) enthusiasm and passion for cinema has given us a huge boost of energy to prepare the great festival that everybody has been waiting for.” “We simply can’t wait!” added Fremaux.
The festival was initially set to take place May 11-22, but those dates didn’t seem feasible as France is still coping with a second wave of COVID-19.
In its release announcing Lee as jury president, Cannes organizers said the “12 summer days (of the next festival) will be a celebration of art and creativity, and full of long-awaited reunions.”
The festival also said “preparations are in full swing with a large numbers of films which are being viewed by the selection committee.” More details about the 74th edition will be unveiled in the coming weeks. The Official Selection and the full jury will be unveiled in early June.