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Spike Lee First Black to Lead Cannes Film Festival Jury

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Film director Spike Lee has been appointed jury president for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, making him the first black person to hold this position.

“In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere. When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be President of Cannes Jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time,” writes Lee in a statement. “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.”

After a 22-year absence, Lee returned to the Festival de Cannes competition last year with his film BlacKkKlansman. The film garnered the Grand Prix award there, followed by the director’s first Oscar for one of his many films.

On behalf of the Festival de Cannes, its board of directors, and its teams, Pierre Lescure, president, and Thierry Frémaux, general delegate, have welcomed back both the artist and the man: “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 President of the Jury will he be? Find out in Cannes!”

The Festival de Cannes will take place from Tuesday, May 12, to Saturday, May 23, 2020. The Official Selection and the composition of the Jury will take place in mid-April. Lee is succeeding Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose 2019 Jury awarded the Palme d’or to Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his film Parasite, which has just won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film.

“In closing, I’m honored to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named President of the Cannes Jury and of a main film festival. The Lee family sincerely thanks the Festival de Cannes, 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, Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn, New York.