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Filmaker & Screenwriter

NYS Writers Institute, October 11, 2005
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Ballroom, Campus Center
8:00 p.m. Commentary | Page Hall, 135 Western Ave.,
Downtown Campus

Kaleem AftabWith Filmmaker and Author Kaleem Aftab
Kaleem Aftab directs the TV and film production house lafamiglia and writes for The Independent, BBC Collective, Sight & Sound, and V magazine.

Cosponsored by Department of Africana Studies

Spike Lee, film director, producer and screenwriter, is renowned for a body of work that explores African American experience, challenges racial stereotypes, and addresses controversial subjects. Lee is also credited with opening up the American film industry--to an unprecedented degree--to the contributions of black talent.

lee_spike_thats_my_story2.jpg - 33260 BytesHis life story and the stories behind his films are chronicled by Kaleem Aftab in the new book Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It (2005).

"Spike Lee does a remarkable thing in Kaleem Aftab's engrossing book: he levels with us. Not another one of those self-promoting canned celeb bios, but the memoirs of a man who made his reputation by fearless truth-telling…." - Roger Ebert

"Although Aftab generally comes down on the director's side, he never ignores dissenting voices…. [It] is to Lee's great credit, too, that he gives his British biographer so much freedom to disagree with him, to question his creative choices, and to give voice to his critics. It is hard to imagine many other American film directors doing the same." - Dominic Sandbrook, London Daily Telegraph

Produced on a shoestring budget, Lee's 1986 comedy feature, She's Gotta Have It, went on to earn nearly $9 million at the box office, and received the Prix de Jeunesse Award at Cannes. Lee established himself as a major American filmmaker with Do the Right Thing (1989), a portrait of life in a Brooklyn neighborhood during a single hot summer's day. In announcing the official list of "Best Picture" nominees at the 1990 Academy Awards, Kim Basinger, in an unscripted moment that reflected the beliefs of legions of critics and moviegoers, said, "The best film of the year, Do the Right Thing, is not on this list."

Lee's forthcoming film is Inside Man (due 2006), a bank heist thriller starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, and Jodie Foster. His other films include She Hate Me (2004), 25th Hour (2002), Bamboozled (2000), Summer of Sam (1999), He Got Game (1998), Clockers (1995), Malcolm X (1992), Jungle Fever (1991), Mo' Better Blues (1990), and School Daze (1988). Lee wrote or cowrote almost all of the scripts for his films, and received a "Best Screenplay" Oscar nomination for Do the Right Thing.

In addition to his achievements in feature films, Lee has produced had directed numerous music videos for such diverse artists as Miles Davis, Tracy Chapman, Anita Baker, Public Enemy and Bruce Hornsby. His other music videos include work for Phyliss Hyman, Naughty by Nature, and Arrested Development.

Spike has also directed several Art Spot Shorts for MTV and a short film featuring Branford Marsalis and Diahane Abbott for Saturday Night Live. Additionally, Spike has authored six books on the making of his films; the fifth book, Five For Five, served as a pictorial reflection of his first five features.

Additional Work By Spike Lee

Feature Films
Jackie Robinson Saga - 1997
Girl 6 - 1996
Clockers - 1995
Crooklyn - 1994
Malcolm X - 1992
Jungle Fever - 1991
Mo' Better Blues - 1990
Do The Right Thing - 1989
School Daze - 1988
She's Gotta Have It - 1986

Short Films
HBO: Real Sports "John Thompson" Coach -- 1995
HBO: Iron Mike Tyson -- 1991
MTV: Five One Minute Spots -- 1989
Horn Of Plenty: Saturday Night Live -- 1986

By Any Means Necessary: The Trials And Tribulations Of Making Malcolm X -- 1993
5 For 5 -- 1992
Mo' Better Blues -- 1991
Do The Right Thing: A Spike Lee Joint -- 1990
Uplift the Race: The Construction Of School Daze -- 1989
Spike Lee's Gotta Have It: Inside Guerrilla Filmmaking -- 1988

Addtional Links:
Times Union Article
Times Union at Event Article

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.