By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
Spike Lee’s body of work in film has been called many things over the past three decades, from genius to groundbreaking. The filmmaker’s passion for probing the issue of race is also undeniable. On February 1st and 2nd Washington National Cathedral presents “A Long, Long Way Film Weekend,” a two day event designed to give cinephiles, activists and enthusiast alike an opportunity to discuss Lee’s work.
A Long, Long Way: Race and Film, 1989 – 2019, takes two of Lee’s movies, “Do the Right Thing” and “BlacKkKlansman,” and provides a venue for audiences to view them then discuss their importance with a panel of theologians, scholars, journalists and policymakers. This is the second annual event of it’s kind for Washington National Cathedral.
The Washington National Cathedral is using films from Spike Lee’s canon as part of their secon annual “A Long, Long Way Film Weekend.” (Courtesy Photo)
A screening of “Do The Right Thing” will take place at 7 p.m. Friday Feb. 1st, at the Cathedral, located at 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. At 6:30 p.m. Saturday February 2nd “BlacKkKlansman” will be shown. Both films will have discussion panels immediately after the screening.
Moderating the panel discussions will be Korva Coleman, a newscaster for NPR. Coleman has written, produced, and delivered national newscasts for programs like NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition,” and “Weekend Edition.”
Also from 3 – 5 p.m. Saturday February 2nd will be an in depth workshop dissecting the two films, and the issues of race and policing. Scheduled speakers and panelists throughout the event include: The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Seminary and the Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral, Dr. Greg Garrett, Professor of English at Baylor University, and author of more than 20 books on religion, politics, narrative, literature, and popular culture, Vann Newkirk, a staff writer at The Atlantic, The Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce, Professor and Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC., and Mr. Elliot Williams, a Principal with the Raben Group.
The festival name was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. “Before his death in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked that while the nation had come “a long, long way” in its quest for racial justice, it still had a long, long way to go. In this spirit, the Long, Long Way Film Weekend compares historical and contemporary film, exploring narratives of race and prejudice over time,” according to the press release.
“Do the Right Thing” (1989) was Lee’s third feature film.It brought forth many characters like Mookie, and Radio Raheem. The film went on to make over $37 million world wide according to boxofficemojo.com. DTRT was nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Screenplay – Motion Picture, and two Academy Award nominations including Best Actor in A Supporting Role for Danny Aiello and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Lee.
Last year Lee’s latest film “BlacKkKlansman” was released. With only a $15 Million budget it earned over $89 Million worldwide. The film was nominated for four Golden Globe awards including Best Motion Picture – Drama, and Best Director – Motion Picture. And film could be up for one of several Academy Award nominations this week.
This event is co-sponsored by Austin Film Festival, Baylor University, and The March On Washington Film Festival. To register for tickets please visit Washington National Cathedral website.