Spike Lee is set to add to its already vast collection of awards with the BFI Fellowship, the highest honor awarded by the British Film Institute.
The BFI said the scholarship was in recognition of “Lee’s pioneering work which spans more than thirty years and chronicled black lives through bold and inventive cinematic works of art, feature films and TV documentaries, music, commercials and books”, and will be presented to the Oscar winner at a special celebration at the BFI Southbank, which will include an in-depth Q&A on stage and the screening of his 1999 crime thriller Summer of Sam.
“I’m lucky to live up to the creed of my ancestors: ‘deeds, not words.’ I thank the BFI for helping me carry on the family legacy for several generations. Peace and love. Ya-dig? Sho-nuff,” said Lee, who joins a list of BFI fellows including Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker, Satyajit Ray, Tilda Swinton, David Lean, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Steve McQueen, Akira Kurosawa, Nicholas Roeg CBE, Orson Welles , Sir Ridley Scott, Ousmane Sembène Bernardo Bertolucci and Souleymane Cissé.
“I am honored and delighted to award Spike Lee the prestigious BFI scholarship,” said BFI President Tim Richards. “Lee has such a distinctive voice as a writer, unafraid to challenge ideas of race, gender and class throughout his career with his unique cinematic style. A true Renaissance man and pioneer, he excelled in many art forms, remaining original, fresh and as relevant to contemporary audiences as those who have appreciated his work for over thirty years. I am delighted to celebrate his enormous talent and individuality with a BFI scholarship.
While in the UK, Lee will also visit the BFI National Archives teams, who liaised with Spike Lee on a new 35mm print of his groundbreaking 1992 biopic Malcolm X, which will premiere at the first BFI film festival to be held in June. .