Spike Lee 2013 Recipient

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Spike Lee is a writer, director, producer, actor, author and educator who has helped revolutionize modern Black cinema; Mr. Lee is a forerunner in the “Do It Yourself” School of Independent Film. His documentary chronicling the rise of Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, premiered at Sundance in 2016. Prior to this was the release of Bad 25, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album. Mr. Lee received two Peabody Awards for the documentary If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, which revisits the recently storm-ravaged Gulf Coast region as residents attempt to rebuild in their cities while also demanding assistance and accountability from their political leaders. Critical and box office successes have included such films as Inside Man, 25th Hour, The Original Kings of Comedy, Bamboozled and Summer of Sam. Mr. Lee’s films Girl 6, Get on the Bus, Do the Right Thing and Clockers display his ability to showcase a series of outspoken and provocative sociopolitical critiques that challenge cultural assumptions, not only about race, but also class and gender identity. Mr. Lee began teaching a course about Filmmaking and Black Film at Harvard in 1991. Since 2002, he has been Artistic Director of the Graduate Film Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Film Production and has been a professor at for the past 15 years. Mr. Lee has combined his extensive creative experience into yet another venture: Partnering with DDB Needham, he created Spike/DDB, a full-service advertising agency.

Selection Committee

David Henry Hwang – David Henry Hwang’s work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Golden Child, Yellow Face and FOB, and the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. He is also a screenwriter, and America’s most-produced living opera librettist. David is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. His recent play, Chinglish, recently seen on Broadway, won the 2011 Jeff Award for Best New Work, and was named Best American Play of 2011 by TIME Magazine. In 2012 he was the Residency One Playwright at NYC’s Signature Theatre, which produced a season of his plays, including the world premiere of his work, Kung Fu. He is the director of Columbia University’s School of the Arts’ M.F.A. program in playwriting.

Fairfax Dorn – Fairfax Dorn is the Executive Director of Ballroom Marfa, a non-profit cultural space located in Marfa, TX, her home town. Established in 2003, Ballroom Marfa helps artists and curators achieve projects that are not possible in traditional gallery or museum settings. The organization’s mission is to present innovative expressions of humanity with a focus on the visual arts, music, film and performance. Ballroom Marfa’s board of directors includes luminaries in contemporary art from around the United States. Fairfax was served on the board of Exit Art and is a trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art