Katrina still on Lee's mind, mulls 'Levees' follow-up


Spike Lee might not yet be done with Hurricane Katrina.

The director of "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" said Thursday that he's considering visiting the area again in the next 24 months for a potential follow-up to the HBO miniseries.

"I'm going to go back, not just to New Orleans but to other areas affected, because it's not over," he told the audience at Silverdocs, the AFI/Discovery Channel docu fest here, where he received the fest's Charles Guggenheim Award.

While Lee didn't specify what the project would cover, he hinted at its focus when he described his feelings about the current situation on the Gulf Coast. "What the press is not really talking about is the mental state — suicide, self-medication," he said. "It's horrible."

Lee also said he thinks there's room for a scripted feature about post-Katrina New Orleans and tipped that "The Wire" creator David Simon, whose "Generation Kill" debuts July 13 on HBO, might be working on such a film.

Lee offered other bits about his own work. He said that his day-in-the-life docu on Kobe Bryant would kick off the NBA season on ABC/ESPN in the fall and revealed that his docu about Michael Jordan's last season could see a public unspooling in 2009, with the director planning a Croisette debut. "We hope to have the world premiere at Cannes next May," Lee said.

The auteur also said that longtime editor Sam Pollard is involved in the Ed Norton-produced docu about Barack Obama and already has collected more than 1,000 hours of footage.

Lee said an Obama presidency — which the director said Thursday was so certain that "there's no if" — would change the culture of filmmaking. "As an artist you reflect what you see in the world, so I think you'll see a lot of artists reflect the change for good that the country is going to embark on."

The eight-day Silverdocs fest, just outside of Washington, showcases a mix of established and emerging nonfiction filmmakers. Lee was characteristically outspoken at the award presentation, saying he'd "love to see a great film on Martin Luther King, but I don't think I can do it. I can't do everything. I've got to leave something for Tyler Perry." (partialdiff)