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Bethlehem, Pa., February 25, 2008— Moravian College will hold “An Evening with Spike Lee: America Through My Lens” on Tuesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in Johnston Hall. Lee is a writer-director, actor, and producer who is regarded as one of today’s premier American filmmakers, credited with revolutionizing the role of black talent in cinema. The lecture by Spike Lee is part of United Student Government’s (USG) Prestigious Speaker program. Last March, entrepreneur and philanthropist Christopher Gardner, who was the subject of the film The Pursuit of Happyness, spoke before a full house at Moravian College.
Lee is a forerunner in the do-it-yourself school of independent film. His most recent work, When The Levees Broke, a groundbreaking documentary focusing on the plight of Americans stranded in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, has garnered rave critical review and is considered by many to be the definitive account of that catastrophic event.
Just prior to Levees he completed his 19th feature film, Inside Man, starring Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen. Lee first established his unique perspective in 1986 with the independently financed film, She’s Gotta Have It. Recent critical and box office successes have included such films as The 25th Hour, The Original Kings of Comedy, Bamboozled, and Summer of Sam.
Lee’s films, Girl 6, Get on The Bus, Do The Right Thing, She Hate Me, and Clockers display his ability to showcase a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques that challenge cultural assumptions not only about race but also class and gender identity. Lee is currently developing dramatic projects for network television as well as completing early prep for his next feature film.
In 1986, his debut film, the independently produced comedy, She’s Gotta Have It, earned him the Prix de Jeunesse Award at the Cannes Film festival and set him at the forefront of the Black New Wave in American Cinema.
School Daze, his second feature, although not highly profitable, helped launch the careers of several young Black actors. Lee’s timely 1989 film, Do The Right Thing, garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film & Director awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Lee’s Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, Clockers and Crooklyn were well-received critically.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Lee returned to the south to attend Morehouse College. After graduation, he returned to Brooklyn to continue his education at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Manhattan where he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in film production. Lee then founded 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks based in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, where he has resided since childhood.
In addition to his achievements in feature films, Lee has produced and directed numerous music videos for such diverse artists as Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Tracy Chapman, Anita Baker, Public Enemy, Bruce Hornsby and Michael Jackson. His other music videos include work for the late Phyliss Hyman, Naughty by Nature, and Arrested Development.
Lee’s commercial work began in 1988 with his Nike Air Jordan campaign. Collaborating with basketball great Michael Jordan on seven commercials, Lee resurrected his popular character, Mars Blackmon from She’s Gotta Have It. He has also completed a PSA for UNCF which also features Michael Jordan called, “Two Michaels.” Lee is also well-known for his Levi’s Button-Fly 501, AT&T, and ESPN television commercials. Other commercial ventures include TV spots for Philips, Nike, American Express, Snapple and Taco Bell. Lee has also directed several Art Spot Shorts for MTV and a short film featuring Branford Marsalis and Diahnne Abbott for Saturday Night Live. Lee is also diversely involved in documentaries and sports programs having completed the Emmy and Oscar nominated documentary, 4 Little Girls for HBO, and receiving an Emmy Award for his piece on Georgetown’s John Thompson for HBO/Real Sports.
Additionally, Lee has authored six books on the making of his films; the fifth book, Five For Five, served as a pictorial reflection of his first five features. Most recently he has authored a new book entitled Best Seat In The House with Ralph Wiley. Lee has combined his extensive creative experience into yet another venture partnering with DDB Needham. He has created Spike/DDB, a full-service advertising agency that will concentrate on the urban/ethnic market.
Admission to the lecture is free, but a ticket is required. Only 1,500 tickets will be distributed. Individuals may request 2 tickets—which must be picked-up at the information desk in the Haupert Union Building, beginning February 25. For more information, call 610-861-1491.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.