Spike Lee will wear a new hat as President of the Jury for the esteemed Cannes Film Festival 2020. The acclaimed director became the first black person to be selected for the role, The Washington Post reports. The recurring festival began in 1946.
In a statement, Lee expressed his joy and shock when he was notified of the selection. “In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere,” he 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.”
In 2018, Lee’s latest feature film, BlacKkKlansman, won the Grand Prix at the annual festival. The feat “became the launching pad for the world theatrical release which led to my Academy Award for screenplay,” he wrote.
The Cannes Film Festival will take 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 the festival’s President Pierre Lescure. “Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up.”
Welcome to Spike Lee as President of the Jury of the 73rd Festival de Cannes! Cannes is a natural homeland for those who (re)awaken minds. Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up. What kind of President will he be? Find out in Cannes! https://t.co/Rezlrl1sOB pic.twitter.com/bt28zF4QO0
— Festival de Cannes (@Festival_Cannes) January 14, 2020