Silverdocs: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Fest Honors Spike Lee

April 23, 2008SILVERDOCS announced today that it will honor Spike Lee at the Charles uggenheim Symposium, a centerpiece of the now eight-day documentary festival which takes place in June just outside DC. Spike Lee, an Emmy Award winning and Academy Award-nominated director, producer, writer and actor with more than 35 films to his credit, was selected for his unyielding commitment to telling stories that challenge Americas consciousness of social injustice, while also celebrating the resilience and power of the human spirit.

The Symposium, named after the late, four-time Oscar-winner Charles Guggenheim, honors a filmmaker who has mastered the power of the documentary to capture current events, frame history and who inspires audiences with powerful explorations of the complexity of the human experience.

Spike Lee is truly a master storyteller; in both his contemporary and historical films, he uncovers the deep truths and unhealed wounds of the American experience while celebrating our resilience and passion, said AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale.

Lees most recent documentary work, the Peabody-winning masterpiece WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS (2006), is considered the documentary of record of the aftermath of Katrina and the courage and tenacity of the people of New Orleans.

His deep commitment to telling stories of the African American experience has resulted in numerous non-fiction films including: the Academy Award-nominated documentary 4 LITTLE GIRLS (1997) which tells the tragic story of the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing that helped galvanize the civil rights movement; A HUEY P. NEWTON STORY (2001), a documentary film based on the biographical play of the Black Panther leader; and WE WUZ ROBBED (2000), which recounts the stunning story of the 2000 election in Florida with poetic economy.

His passions for both music and sports have lead to films on Pavarotti and Michael Jackson as well as footballs All-American Jim Brown. All this is in addition to his powerful and celebrated narrative dramatic films, including DO THE RIGHT THING which AFI has honored as one of the 100 greatest American films of all time. As part of the Symposium, SILVERDOCS will screen a series of excerpts from Lees body of documentary work. Following the screening Lee
will be joined on stage by special guests to engage in a discussion of his career.

Past honorees include Barbara Kopple, who was joined by Albert Maysles and Elvis Mitchell in 2005; Martin Scorsese, who engaged in conversation with Jim Jarmusch in 2006; and most recently Jonathan Demme, who was interviewed by NPRs Michel Martin. More details will be released closer to the Festival.