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Spike Lee has been announced as the special guest at the 30th annual Virginia Film Festival.
The filmmaker will be on hand to present his Oscar-nominated documentary 4 Little Girls, which chronicles the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that left four African-American girls dead. The hate crime served as a catalyst for the civil rights movement.
Lee’s presentation will be a part of a larger program around the living legacy of slavery, presented in collaboration with James Madison’s Montpelier.
Included in the program will be a short video piece, titled I Can’t Breathe, which combines footage of the chokehold death of Eric Garner with footage of the similar death in Lee’s 1989 film Do The Right Thing of Radio Raheem.
The fest is set to take place in November in Charlottesville, the site of recent political tension where white supremacists came together to protest the removal of a Confederate monument from the University of Virginia campus. At the rally, a domestic terrorist rammed his car into counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer. The Virginia Film Festival is a program of UVA and the office of the provost and vice provost for the arts.
“We first reached out to Mr. Lee in the spring to include him in our upcoming collaboration with Montpelier, and, of course, the recent events in Charlottesville have made his participation more compelling, relevant and vital,” said Jody Kielbasa, director of the VFF and vice provost for the Arts at UVA.
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