On Sunday night, at the Sundance premiere of his faith-based drama Red Hook Summer, the notoriously outspoken writer-director wanted to make a few things abundantly clear:
1) The film follows Flik (Jules Brown), a 13-year-old Atlanta boy with a “fro-hawk” and a ubiquitous iPad 2, who is transplanted to Brooklyn’s Red Hook housing projects to live with his fire-and-brimstone-spouting preacher grandfather for the summer—and potentially find a place for accepting Jesus Christ into his life. Lee said he financed Red Hook Summer himself because he feels the studio system would never let him make “a multidimensional portrait of a young African-American.”
2) Although the movie stands as the fifth installment of what he calls his Chronicles of Brooklyn—with the previous chapters being his 1986 debut She’s Gotta Have It, the Oscar-nominated Do the Right Thing in 1989, Crooklyn in 1994, followed up with Clockers in 1995—Red Hook Summer “is not a motherfuckin’ sequel to Do the Right Thing.”
3) That Red Hook Summer represents a return to Lee’s days as an art-house auteur operating on a guerilla budget. The movie cost less than $1 million, relying heavily on labor by graduate students at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts—where Lee is a professor of film and creative director— and was shot in just 19 days on a Sony F3 digital camera.
Then came a question from the audience—from none other than fellow Brooklynite Chris Rock, who was at the festival to promote his film Two Days in New York. “You did it, you spent your own money, whatever. What would you have done differently if you had actually gotten studio money?” Rock asked. “What else would have happened? Would he have blown up or some shit?”
The Daily Beast sits down with Spike Lee to discuss the film and Hollywood
Category: News & Politics