Spike Lee to Receive Venice's 'Glory to the Filmmaker' Honor

2012-02 FEA Spike Lee Portrait P IPAD
Wesley Mann

After a long hiatus and on the eve of "Red Hook Summer's" festival debut, the director talks about "The Help," "Inside Man's" (nonstarter) sequel and the state of blacks in Hollywood.

The award and the screening of the documentary "Bad 25" will represent Lee's 9th trip to the Venice Lido in an official capacity.

ROME – The Venice Film Festival announced Friday that it would award its Glory to the Filmmaker honor this year to U.S. director, screenwriter, actor, and producer Spike Lee.

Lee was already going to be in Venice in conjunction with Bad 25, his Michael Jackson documentary that will explore the making and impacts of Jackson’s album “Bad,” which was released 25 years ago.  The film will screen in the official selection but out of competition.

The Glory to the Filmmaker award, which is presented to a personality that brought “great innovation to contemporary cinema,” is not connected to the world premiere of Bad 25, but rather for Lee’s career.

“Spike Lee is a bold and creative spirit, the author of daring and corrosive films, often unpredictable and provocative in the best sense of the word,” Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said in a statement. “He creates films that challenge us to rethink our prejudices and our preconceptions.”

The award will be presented to Lee on August 31, ahead of the screening of Bad 25. The 69-year-old festival runs August 29-Sept. 8.

Lee is a regular on the Venice Lido, with eight previous films screening during the festival. He appeared in Venice’s main competition twice, with Mo’Better Blues in 1990 and Clockers five years later. In 2004, Lee’s film She Hate Me and in 2005, Jesus Children of America, and episode from the film The Invisible Children, both screened out of competition. Additionally. His 1997 documentary 4 Little Girls, the film He Got Game from 1998, and his 2006 New Orleans documentary When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Acts all appeared in Venice sidebars. Additionally, Lee was a member of Venice’s International Jury in 2004.

Previously, the Glory to the Filmmaker award has been presented to Al Pacino last year, Mani Ratnam in 2010, Sylvester Stallone in 2009, Agnes Varda in 2008, and Abbas Kiaristami in 2008.