A month after successfully raising just over $1.4 million via Kickstarter to finance his next joint, Spike Lee has been announced as the recipient of this year’s Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, according to The New York Times, which comes with a $300,000 cash award.
Said to be 1 of the largest prizes awarded in the field of the arts, and now in its 20th year, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, was established by actress Lillian Gish (star of dozens of films spanning 75 years, including D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation), and is awarded to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life,” says the prize foundation’s website.
This marks 2 years in a row that the award has gone to a recipient of African descent. Last year, actress Anna Deavere Smith was honored with it, for using her position as an artist and educator to address social issues of the day.
Spike Lee, who will receive the award on October 30 at a private event at the Museum of Modern Art here in NYC, was chosen from 30 finalists in all fields of the arts, nominated by other artists.
Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, and chairman of the Gish Prize selection committee had this to say: “We honor Spike Lee for his brilliance and unwavering courage in using film to challenge conventional thinking, and for the passion for justice he feels in his soul.”
Spike added: “Would you believe, two of the most important films that impacted me while I was studying at N.Y.U. starred Lillian Gish? Those films were D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ and Charles Laughton’s ‘The Night of the Hunter.’”
If you’ve seen The Night Of The Hunter, and Spike’s Do The Right Thing, you would already know of one way that the former inspired the latter. If you don’t know, watch the 2 clips that follow below.
So, today’s survey question is: what would you like to see Spike do with that $300,000?