Spike Lee will expand his already extensive collection of awards with the BFI Fellowship, the highest honor awarded by the British Film Institute.
The BFI said the Fellowship was in recognition of Lee’s “pioneering body of work that has spanned more than thirty years, documenting black lives through bold and inventive cinematic artwork, from feature films and documentaries to television, music, commercials and books,” and will be presented to the Oscar winner at a special celebration at BFI Southbank, which will include an in-depth Q&A on stage and a screening of his 1999 crime thriller Summer of Sam.
“I am blessed with my ancestors’ credo: ‘actions, not words.’ I thank the BFI for helping me carry on my generational family legacy. Peace and love. Yes-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 Fellowship,” said BFI President Tim Richards. “Lee has such a distinctive voice as an author, 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 so many art forms, original, fresh and as relevant to contemporary audiences as those who have enjoyed his work for over thirty years. I am delighted to celebrate his tremendous talent and individuality with a BFI Fellowship.”
While in the UK, Lee will also be visiting teams at the BFI National Archive who have collaborated with Spike Lee on a new 35mm print of his groundbreaking 1992 biopic Malcolm X, which will premiere at the inaugural Film on Film Festival of the BFI held in June. .