Director and filmmaker Spike Lee has been named the president of the jury for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
Lee was slated to head last year’s jury but the festival was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eventually, a three-day festival was held in October, but on a much smaller scale.
This year’s event will take place from July 6-17 rather than in May when the festival is typically held. Other members of the jury and the films selected will be announced in June. Lee, whose filmography includes Do The Right Thing, which he wrote, and 25th Hour, which he directed, won the Cannes Grand Prix award in 2018 for BlacKKKlansman.
“Throughout the months of uncertainty we’ve just been through, Spike Lee has never stopped encouraging us. This support is finally coming to fruition and we could not have hoped for a more powerful personality to chart our troubled times,” says Pierre Lescure, president of the Festival. “His enthusiasm and passion for cinema has given us a huge boost of energy to prepare the great Festival that everybody has been awaiting for. The party will be great, we simply can’t wait!” Thierry Frémaux, producer for the festival said in a release.
Lee was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is a known die-hard Knicks fan. Seven of his films have been shown at the festival including Summer of Sam and She’s Gotta Have It. Lee’s return to the festival marks the end of a 22-year absence from the festival for Lee.
Lee’s last movie, Da 5 Bloods premiered on Netflix last year and received positive reviews. The movie was also one of the last projects Chadwick Bozeman acted in before he passed away.
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the movie a positive review, saying “The picture, the script and director Lee all deserve nomination consideration, as does the lush and booming score by Lee’s longtime collaborator Terence Blanchard… Whitlock, Lewis, Peters, and Boseman deserve supporting actor conversation, while Delroy Lindo should be an instant contender for best actor.”