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CANNES 2020

Spike Lee to chair the Cannes jury

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- The US director will preside over the competition jury at the 73rd edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which is set to unspool from 12-23 May 2020

Spike Lee to chair the Cannes jury
Director Spike Lee

For the 20th time in its existence, the Cannes Film Festival’s competition jury will be chaired by an American, and this time it’s the turn of a highly committed leading figure in the world of cinema, as Spike Lee will be doing the honours at the 73rd edition (12-23 May 2020) of the world’s most important film gathering. The filmmaker (who is also a screenwriter, actor, editor and producer) thus steps into the shoes of Mexico’s Alejandro González Iñárritu, who presided over the jury at the 2019 edition of the festival headed up by duo Pierre Lescure (President) and Thierry Frémaux (Artistic Director). Some of Spike Lee’s fellow countrymen who have recently had the honour of taking on this role include Quentin Tarantino (2004), Sean Penn (2008), Tim Burton (2010), Robert de Niro (2011), Steven Spielberg (2013), and brothers Joel and Ethan Coen (2015).

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"Spike Lee's perspective is more valuable than ever. Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who (re)awaken minds and question our stances and fixed ideas. Lee's flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up. What kind of jury president will he be? Find out in Cannes!" Lescure and Frémaux remarked.

"When I got the call to say that I was being offered the opportunity to be president of the Cannes jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time," Lee said. "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."

Signing his statement from the location of “Da People's Republic of Brooklyn, New York”, the filmmaker mentioned several factors that he holds particularly dear: "In closing, I'm honoured to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named president of the Cannes jury and that of a main film festival. The Lee family sincerely thanks the Cannes Film Festival, Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux, and the great people of France, who have supported my film career throughout four decades. I will always treasure this special relationship. Peace and Love."

Spike Lee has taken part in Cannes seven times during his career: three times in competition (Do the Right Thing in 1989, Jungle Fever in 1991 and BLACKkKLANSMAN in 2018, winning the Grand Prix into the bargain), twice in the Official Selection (Girl 6 out of competition in 1996 and Ten Minutes Older in Un Certain Regard in 2002) and two further times in the Directors’ Fortnight (She’s Gotta Have It in 1986 and Summer of Sam in 1999).

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(Translated from French)

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