Shelton Jackson Lee (b. 20th March 1957) Spike Lee is an American film director, producer and writer. His hometown is Brooklyn, New York. He started his own production company under the name '40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks'. Spike Lee is renowned for his controversial topics in films, some of which highlight race relations, poverty and political issues.
Early life: Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother, Jacqueline Carroll, taught the arts and black literature while his father, William James Edward Lee III, was a jazz musician. He got his nickname 'Spike' from his mother and he attended John Dewey High School. Lee then attended Morehouse College and made his first film 'Last Hustle In Brooklyn' before leaving with a BA in Mass Communication. During that time he also took film courses at Clark Atlanta University, and later did graduate work at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he landed himself a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.
Career: Spike Lee completed his first thesis film 'Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads' in 1983 and showcased it at Lincoln Center's New Directors New Films Festival. In 1985, Lee made his first feature film 'She's Gotta Have It'. The budget was $175,000 and was released in 1986; the film grossed $7,000,000 at the U.S Box Office and it was shot in only two weeks.
1989 saw the release of controversial film 'Do The Right Thing' which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. The following year, 'Mo' Better Blues' was released. Lee released '4 Little Girls' in 1997; a documentary that explored the killings of the children from a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The film was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the Academy Awards.
Commercials: In 1990, Levi's jeans took Lee on to produce the TV commercials for the 501 button fly selection. Nike offered Lee a deal to direct for the company, and worked on the 'Air Jordans' line. His success in commercials then spanned to the likes of Converse, Taco Bell, Ben & Jerry's and Jaguar.
Personal Life: Lee is married to Tonya Lewis who is an attorney. They have two children; their daughter Satchel (b. Dec.1994) and their son Jackson (b. 1997). Lee is an avid New York Yankees fan, as well as a New York Knicks and English Football Team, Arsenal. Lee has his own office, and lives with his wife Tonya in Upper-East Manhattan, New York.
The director will be boycotting this years awards, after the #Oscarssowhite debate.
Director Spike Lee has spoken about his decision to boycott this year’s Oscars at the Berlin International Film Festival while premiering his latest movie Chi-Raq. Lee announced in January that he would not be attending this year’s ceremony, due to the lack of diversity among the nominees.
Spike Lee has spoken about his decision to boycott this year’s Academy Awards.
When asked about the Oscars diversity debate, Lee said he and his wife “never called a boycott. We just said we’re not going.” “Every year if you add up all the actor categories, there are 20 spots open and in the last two years not a single person of colour has been nominated,” Lee continued.
No stranger to controversy, Spike Lee has been sparking debate in the run-up to his new drama Chi-Raq
Chi-Raq is about women in South Chicago who decide to withhold sex from their men to get them to stop killing each other. The story comes from ancient mythology, namely Lysistrata by Aristophanes. "It was originally [cowriter] Kevin Willmott's idea," Lee says. "He wrote the first treatment. We tried to get that off the ground but couldn't get it done. So a year ago I gave him a call and I asked if he still owned that script. He told me yes, it's still free. So I said lets cowrite it and let's make it take place in the South Side of Chicago. And here we are now. But it wasn't easy."
Finding a studio to finance the film was the next big challenge. "Amazon was the one who said yes. Everyone else said no," he says. "And I understand their hesitation a bit because the entire script is written in verse!" Lee has been outspoken about race and violence in America throughout his career, which has spanned such classics as 1989's Do the Right Thing, the biopic Malcolm X and the heist thriller Inside Man. So he wasn't surprised when Chi-Raq's trailer sparked an explosion of criticism on the internet.
Continue reading: Chi-Raq Finds Spike Lee Speaking Out Again
This time it's up to the wives to stop the killings.
The trailer for Spike Lee's emotionally charged new drama 'Chi-Raq' is here, and while it's based on an ancient war comedy, he takes a far more serious look at the war raging on the streets of Chicago in regards to gang violence and the city's ever growing death toll.
Teyonah Parris brings the girl power in 'Chi-Raq'
The premise of the movie, as mentioned in the new trailer, is that homicides in Chicago have easily exceeded those of American Special Forces in Iraq (hence the title). It's a shocking statement that turns a would-be comedy into something far graver. It's based on the 411 BCE Greek play 'Lysistrata' by Aristophanes, which is set during the Peloponnesian War. The main idea is that the title character, a woman of independence and remarkable strength for that time, rallies together a group of women in a bid to end the war her own way; by persuading these ladies to sign an oath eschewing all sexual activity with their husbands until they agree to put down their weapons.
On his latest project, director Spike Lee creates an current day version of Aristophanes' ancient Greek play Lysistrata.
Samuel L. Jackson's character narrates us through the story 'Welcome to Chi-raq, land Of Pain, misery and strife' and tells the viewers how this particular story came to life. After the accidental death of a child by a gun shot, the ladies of a neighbourhood in Chicago (which garnered the epithet Chi-raq for its similarities to Iraq) decided to take matters into their own hands.
One woman, Lysistrata, has an idea, a battle cry of her own, but one to unite the women of Chicago in a bid to stop their men from 'bangin' and slingin', flightin' for the flag and risking that long zipper on a cadaver bag.'
Continue: Chi-Raq Trailer
The director's new joint 'Chi-Raq', set against a backdrop of inner city violence, will be the first original movie content for the media giant.
Amazon Studios has announced plans for its first movie release, teaming up with award-winning director Spike Lee for his forthcoming joint Chi-Raq.
The media giant confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter that Lee’s next major movie will be the first original movie content for the studio, which is looking to expand from streaming into the territory that Netflix has started to occupy. The e-commerce giant announced at the start of 2015 that it was planning to make 12 movies a year.
Amazon unveiled the news on its so-called ‘Amazon Prime Day’, Wednesday July 15th, also the 20th anniversary of the compay. “Chi-Raq will shed light on the serious, but often overlooked issue of violence in inner city Chicago,” a statement by the studio said.
Spike Lee's latest joint is causing controversy.
A campaign to pressure movie director Spike Lee to change the name of his upcoming movie Chiraq has stepped up after a rookie alderman refused to grant a city permit to close a street for a summer block party.
Spike Lee is facing pressure to change the title of his upcoming movie Chiraq
Newly elected Ald. David Moore (17th) is refusing to grant permission for a bash outside St. Sabina's Catholic Church in Auburn-Gresham on Saturday because it is sponsored by Lee and the cast of Chiraq - a film about black-on-black violence.
Continue reading: Spike Lee Versus Chicago Intensifies After Street Party Is Blocked
The uncompromising director has sparked outrage among some of Chicago's residence for using the city's nickname 'Chiraq', and are worried that the project may end up glamorising violence.
Famed director Spike Lee was accused of insulting the residents of the city of Chicago by titling his new project ‘Chiraq’, a movie which will look at education and violence. He has also been criticised for doing damage to the city’s reputation and hurting tourism by choosing the term.
The moniker ‘Chiraq’ is a nickname sometimes used for the city by its young inhabitants, referring to its reputation for street violence and gun crime. But a number of anti-gun crime campaigners and tourist officials have pulled up Lee, a director famed for his uncompromising depictions of struggles in society, for perpetuating an unhelpful stereotype by choosing the title.
Continue reading: Director Spike Lee Courts Controversy By Calling New Film 'Chiraq'
Lee won't be sipping a chai lattes around Brooklyn anytime soon.
Spike Lee ruffled a few feathers when he let loose on the contemporary residents of Brooklyn and their dogs during his speech at the Pratt Institute. His tirade was never going to be unleashed without rebuttals, and Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, has offered up just that.
Spike Lee has a go at hipsters...
Just in case you needed a reminder of what Lee’s views on the hipsters that currently dwell amidst the Brooklyn hubris are; when an audiences member suggested an ostensibly positive aspect of gentrification, Lee replied: “Let me, let me, let me, let me just kill you right now.” Lee was talking at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, an art, design, and architecture school. "I grew up here in New York. It's changed," he said. The transcript is here on The Guardian.
Continue reading: Spike Lee Gentrification Rant: Let The Rebuttals Begin
Moviegoers who know nothing about the iconic 2003 Korean thriller will perhaps enjoy this half-hearted remake. It lacks the subtlety and irony of Park Chan-wook's deranged masterpiece, but Spike Lee brings a certain technical sleekness that holds our interest. Especially as the complex plot begins to twist and turn, gleefully pulling the rug out from under us.
It centres on Joe (Brolin), a drunken loser who blows his last chance at his job by coming on to a client's wife. The next morning he wakes up in a sleazy hotel room that turns out to be a locked cell where he'll be held for the next 20 years. He's shown news updates on how he's the prime suspect in his wife's violent murder, and he watches his daughter grow up in an adoptive family's home. Suddenly focussed on revenge, he plots his escape and then is caught off guard when he's inexplicably released. With the help of his old friend Chucky (Imperioli) and helpful nurse Marie (Olsen), Joe tracks down his flamboyant jailer (Jackson) and then the creepy man (Copley) who paid the bills and now demands that Joe understands why he did it.
Yes, the plot is a big puzzle, and watching the various pieces fall into place keeps us riveted to the screen, even if nothing is particularly involving. Lee's mistake is to play everything dead straight, with only the odd hint of black humour or underlying madness. Instead, we get bigger action fight scenes (cool but choreographed) and a variety of surprises and revelations that often make us gasp. And all of this is played with razor-sharp intensity by Brolin, who gives us just enough emotion to keep us engaged with his journey.
Continue reading: Oldboy Review
A brief roundup of the good, the bad and the immensely profitable films this Thanksgiving weekend.
This holiday box office is already predicted to be a record breaker. With both Frozen premiering and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in cinemas, both movies are on course to break the previous Thanksgiving weekend record, according to The Hollywood Reporter. For the Wednesday-Sunday period, Frozen is predicted to bring in around $90 million, second only to Catching Fire, which is holding steady in its second week of release with $100 million predicted earnings for the same time period.
The second Hunger Games movie is on fire, if you'll pardon the pun.
Frozen is poised to easily beat the previous record for a Thanksgiving opening, which was set by Toy Story in 1999 with $80.1 million. It's also set to score the top opening for a Disney Animation Studios title, besting the $68.7 million debut of Tangled over Thanksgiving in 2010.
Continue reading: Box Office Highlights: What Are You Seeing This Weekend?
Spike Lee Monday 26th April 2010 Opening night of the Broadway production 'August Wilson's Fences' held at the Cort Theatre - Arrivals. New York City, USA
Dennis White and Spike Lee Thursday 30th October 2008 Russell Simmons and Spike Lee co-host I AM C.H.A.N.G.E! Get out the Vote party presented by The Source Magazine and The HipHop Summit Action network held at Home New York City, USA
Date of birth
20th March, 1957
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