Cannes Film Festival Re-Sets Spike Lee As Jury President, Says “Preparations Are In Full Swing” For July Event

The Cannes Film Festival has announced that Spike Lee will be jury president in 2021, one year after he was due to preside over the festival but couldn’t due to its cancellation.

The 74th edition of Cannes is due to run July 6-17 after being pushed back from its traditional May slot due to the pandemic.

The festival said today that “preparations are in full swing with a large numbers of films being viewed by the selection committee. The Festival will have the opportunity to outline in more details the 74th edition in the coming weeks.”

The Official Selection and the rest of the jury are due to be unveiled in early June.

“Throughout the months of uncertainty we’ve just been through, Spike Lee has never stopped encouraging us. This support is finally coming to fruition and we could not have hoped for a more powerful personality to chart our troubled times”, said Pierre Lescure, President of the Festival.

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“His [Lee’s] enthusiasm and passion for cinema has given us a huge boost of energy to prepare the great Festival that everybody has been waiting for. We simply can’t wait!”, added Thierry Frémaux, Cannes General Delegate.

Lee’s jury appointment comes three years after BlacKkKlansman debuted on the Croisette. That film, which won Cannes’ Grand Prix and scored Lee’s first Oscar, marked the director’s return to Cannes after a 22-year absence. Seven of Lee’s movies have played at the festival, including She’s Gotta Have ItDo The Right Thing and Summer Of Sam.

In the role of jury president, Lee succeeds Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose jury awarded the Palme d’Or to Bong Joon-ho’s multi-Oscar nominee Parasite.

However, given the ongoing Covid crisis, it remains to be seen whether this year’s festival can go ahead in July or whether it will need to postpone to later in the year, something a number of summer events have already actioned. The festival has also been exploring the possibility of a May screenings event, which could potentially become an online market.

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