The Cannes Film Festival said Tuesday that Spike Lee will be its 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 festival president Pierre Lescure..
“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 It, Do 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 winner Parasite.
Given the ongoing Covid crisis and vaccine rollout problems in Europe, it remains to be seen whether this year’s Cannes Film 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 had to do. The festival has been exploring the possibility of a separate May screenings event, which could potentially become an online market.