The Cannes Film Festival was founded in 1946 but it’s only just catching up with the 21st century. They announced this week that the jury will be presided over by veteran filmmaker and director Spike Lee in 2020 – making him the first African-American to step into those polished shoes.
Known for exploring human connection in the black community with movies like Malcolm X, and He Got Game, Spike Lee’s only making history again. “I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time,” Spike Lee said – and we relate. The visionary has had a long history with the festival as well, and the board of Directors at Cannes believe, ”Spike Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever.”
“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. You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema. It started way back in 1986 – my first feature film She’s Gotta Have It, which won the Prix de la Jeunesse in the Director’s Fortnight,” Lee said in his statement, pointing to a long-standing relationship between the two.
As a champion of the underdogs, Spike Lee is expected to make some radical decisions during the time that he stays in the role, and we’re excited to see the change representation can bring to the films picked by the festival. Unlike the Oscars, we’re hoping to see diversity beyond tokenism.