Written by Kianna Best on Jan 30, 2023. Posted in Awards and Festivals

Spike Lee to be honoured with BFI Fellowship

General sale for tickets to the honouring of writer, actor, producer, author and NYU Grad Film Tenured professor Spike Lee will go on sale today at 4pm GMT. Lee will be honoured with the BFI Fellowship, the highest honour to be bestowed by the BFI. The filmmaker’s work includes his Academy Award-winning BlacKkKlansman and classics such as She’s Gotta Have It, later adapted for the Netflix series of the same title, and Do The Right Thing. The ceremony will take place at the BFI Southbank on 13 February, hosted by BFI Chair Tim Richards and BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts.


Image courtesy of Marc Baptiste


Tim Richards, BFI Chair, commented: “I am honoured and excited to be awarding Spike Lee the prestigious BFI Fellowship. Lee has such a distinctive voice as an auteur, unafraid to challenge ideas of race, gender and class throughout his career with his unique cinematic style. A true renaissance man and pioneer, he has excelled in so many art forms, staying original, fresh and as relevant to contemporary audiences as those who have enjoyed his work for over thirty years. I am delighted to be celebrating his enormous talent and individuality with a BFI Fellowship.”


The Atlanta born and Brooklyn raised filmmaker has carved an awe-inspiring reputation in the world of film, inspiring many other Black creatives that have followed in his footsteps, including Ava Duvernay and Ryan Coogler. With a career that has spanned over 30 years, Lee’s pioneering body of work has offered commentary on the African American experience, class and gender, as well as many socio-economically based conversations, all from a highly unique and eclectic signature lens.


Image courtesy of Universal Pictures


For his visit, Lee’s evening of honour will be accompanied by an in-depth on stage Q&A and screening of Summer of Sam, the 1999 crime drama starring Adrian Brody and John Leguizamo. Whilst in the UK, Lee will also visit the BFI National Archive where a new 35mm print of Malcolm X, funded by the BFI National Lottery, will be developed and then set to premiere at the BFI inaugural Film on Film Festival taking place at the BFI Southbank form 8-11 June.


The 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks founder has an extensive filmography including She’s Gotta Have It which premiered at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, receiving the esteemed Prix de la Jeunesse Award. Do The Right Thing was Lee’s entry into the Academy Awards, earning him his first nomination for Best Original Screenplay as well as most recently being voted as the 24th film in the top 100 Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time Critic’s Poll in 2022. With Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever both screening at Cannes, Lee’s return to the festival in 2018 saw him win the Grand Prix for his thought provoking work BlacKkKlansman.


Image courtesy of Netflix


Spike Lee has also produced several documentaries, including the Academy Award-nominated 4 Little Girls and the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning films When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise), all with HBO. Lee’s touch does not end with cinema. Involved in a host of music videos for artists including promos for Public Enemy, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Arrested Development, Naughty by Nature, Chaka Khan and Bruce Hornsby, the Morehouse College alum has also worked on commercials including his legendary advertising debut with the Nike Air Jordan campaign.


Spike Lee joins BFI fellows including Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker, Satyajit Ray, Tilda Swinton, Sir David Lean, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Sir Steve McQueen, Akira Kurosawa, Nicholas Roeg CBE, Orson Welles, Sir Ridley Scott, Ousmane Sembène Bernardo Bertolucci and Souleymane Cissé.


Spike Lee said I’m Blessed To Live Up To My Ancestors Credo “DEEDS, NOT WORDS”. I Thank The BFI For Helping Me in Continuing My Generations Of Family Legacy. Peace And Love. YA-DIGSHO-NUFF.”


Image courtesy of Universal Pictures


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