Spike Lee has a new gig. The Academy Award-winning director will be the President of the Jury for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival 2020. The new role will make Spike Lee the first black person to be selected for the role, as The Washington Post reports. The annual festival began in 1946.
Lee expressed his joy regarding the new role, in a statement. “In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere,” Lee said.
“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. 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.”
Spike Lee’s latest feature film, 2018’s BlacKkKlansman, won the Grand Prix at the esteemed festival. The film “became the launching pad for the world theatrical release which led to my Academy Award for screenplay,” Lee wrote.
The Cannes Film Festival takes place on May 12-23 at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. “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,” said Pierre Lescure, the Cannes Film Festival President. “Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up.”