The80s was not a great decade for americanCinema; with some exceptions, the filmmakers responsible for theAmericanNewWave that began in the latter part of the sixties had either burned out, selfdestructed, or lost their way creatively, and the increasinglycorporatecontrolled studios weren’t really cultivating the kind of bold, idiosyncratic films that made me want to make films. It felt like the sense of what was possible had shrunk, and I worried about my future. Every so often, however, an independent film (or filmmaker) would emerge that felt connected to both those recent, great american films and to great cinema from around the world, and as I was attempting to find my own voice and place in the film world, three independent american filmmakers in particular attracted my attention and expanded my idea of what was possible; DavidLynch, JimJarmusch, and SpikeLee. These were distinctive new voices, and the freedom (and success) they represented was liberating and energizing; these were shoulders I would try to stand on, that I would be proud to stand on.
Certain filmmakers exist outside the traditional parameters of criticism; their point of view and body of work make discussions about individual films interesting but ultimatelyirrelevant because each project is merely a chapter in a very long book that must (and will) be acknowledged and appreciated for its breadth, ambition, and contributions to the art ofCinema. For me, SpikeLee is one of those filmmakers. He is a totallyunique figure in americanCinema, and he’s always gone his own way and spoken his mind (even when the commercial stakes were high), qualities which are in short supply in thefilmbusiness. I know Spike’s films better than I know Spike (maybe the Knicksgame with help with that), but we’re friendly enough for me to say I respect him as person as well as a filmmaker.
So, in case you haven’t figured it out already, this is why I’m supporting Spike onKickstarter:
1. Spike’s success helped make my success possible.
2. Spike has earned my attention because of his body of work and its distinct point of view.
3. You should support your friends.
Now let’s light this candle!