Directing, writing, and starring in his own films, as did Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles before him, Lee has arguably had almost as profound an influence on American filmmaking as his predecessors, although in very different ways. In his own words, he is good at "marketing," and what he has marketed is a highly politicized African American cinema that is also commercially viable. Many critics credit Lee with paving the way for a new wave of mass-market yet socially conscious filmmakers, including John Singleton, Charles Lane, and Carl Franklin. The eldest of six children, Lee was educated first at Morehouse College and then at New York University's film school. His first feature release, She's Gotta Have It (1986), won the Prix de Jeunesse at Cannes and was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful in the United States. Lee went on to make School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989), a technically sophisticated film that addressed racism in a complex and controversial fashion. The film constructs a narrative that leaves it to the viewer to decide whether its protagonist, Mookie, has done the right thing when he responds to the death of one of his friends at the hands of the police by throwing a trash can through the window of his employer, who had called the police in the first place. Because a riot ensues, many (white) critics argued that the film celebrated violence, and the press suggested that it would incite black spectators to riot (it did not). Other critics suggested that Mookie actually defuses a riot, by directing the community's anger toward property and away from the police. Two years later, Lee tackled the subject of interracial relationships in another hotly debated film, Jungle Fever (1991), which some saw as preachy and sexist and others praised as bold and complex. However, his most recent and ambitious film, Malcolm X (1992), has been almost universally acclaimed. Lee has published a companion text for each film that includes biographies of all of the principals, essays on such topics as guerilla filmmaking, production stills, details of salaries and finances, excerpts from his journal or production notes, and the script. These materials demystify production, advertise the talents of the people who work for him, and promote his political positions, particularly his commitment to black entrepreneurship and cultural self-expression.
SPIKE LEE is a writer, director, actor, producer and author who revolutionized the role of black talent in cinema. Widely regarded as a premiere African-American filmmaker, Lee is a forerunner in the lsquo;do it yourselfrsquo; school of independent film. Lee's most recent theatrical release is ldquo;Miracle at St Anna," and other critical and box office successes have included ldquo;Inside Man,rdquo; ldquo;25th Hour,rdquo; and ldquo;Summer of Sam.rdquo; Many of Lee's films have earned various awards and nominations, including his 1989 film, ldquo;Do the Right Thing,rdquo; which garnered an Academy Awardreg; nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film and Director awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Brooklyn, Lee returned to the south to attend Morehouse College. After graduation, Lee continued his education at New York University where he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in film production. Lee then founded 40 Acres and Mule Filmworks based in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. Since 2002, Lee has been Artistic Director of the Graduate Film Program at New York Universityrsquo;s Tisch School of the Arts. JASON MATLOFF is a film journalist who has been writing about movies for more than a decade. He was on staff at Premiere Magazine for several years, where he put together oral histories on the "Indiana Jones" trilogy, "Ghostbusters," and "Platoon." His articles and interviews have appeared in Premiere, Spin, Empire, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Hollywood Reporter.
Steve Crist has edited and created numerous art and photography books including The Polaroid Book, Marilyn by Andre de Dienes, Jazzlife and Steve McQueen by William Claxton, and The Curse of Lono by Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman. In 2006, he created and published the internationally successful Gonzo by Hunter S. Thompson. Steve is the Publisher of AMMO Books, and is currently in production with Todd Oldham on Charley Harper - An Illustrated Life, and Lulu by Lulu de Kwiatkowski. He lives in Los Angeles.