Spike Lee is set to add to his already extensive collection of awards with the BFI Fellowship, the highest honor bestowed by the British Film Institute.
The BFI said the Fellowship was in recognition of Lee’s “pioneering body of work that has spanned over thirty years and has chronicled black lives through bold and inventive cinematic works of art from feature films and documentary to television, music, commercials and books,” and will be presented to the Oscar-winner at a special celebration at BFI Southbank, set to include an in-depth on-stage Q&A and screening of his 1999 crime thriller Summer of Sam.
“I’m blessed to live up to my ancestors’ credo: ‘deeds, not words.’ I thank the BFI for helping me in continuing my generations of family legacy. 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 excited to be awarding Spike Lee the prestigious BFI Fellowship,” Said BFI Chair Tim Richards. “Lee has such a distinctive voice as an auteur, unafraid to challenge ideas of race, gender and class throughout his career with his unique cinematic style. A true renaissance man and pioneer, he has excelled in so many art forms, staying original, fresh and as relevant to contemporary audiences as those who have enjoyed his work for over thirty years. I am delighted to be celebrating his enormous talent and individuality with a BFI Fellowship.”
While in the UK, Lee will also visit teams at the BFI National Archive, who have liaised with Spike Lee on a new 35mm print of his groundbreaking 1992 biopic Malcolm X, set to premiere at the BFI’s inaugural Film on Film Festival being held in June.