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Spike Lee will be the first black person to serve as president of the Cannes Film Festival jury

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Spike Lee Prince of Cats
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After picking up the Grand Prix at Cannes for BlacKkKlansman in 2018, director Spike Lee is poised to make a return to the 73rd edition of the prestigious film festival to serve as president of the jury, which will reveal its lineup in April.

Lee’s appointment to the role is notable for a number of different reasons, but above all is the fact that he’ll be the first black person to serve as the jury’s president in the history of the festival.

“When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be President of Cannes Jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time,” Lee said. “I’m honored to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named President of the Cannes Jury and of a main film festival.”

By taking on the role, Lee succeeds last year’s president Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose 2019 jury awarded the coveted Palme d’Or to Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite last May.

The 73rd annual Cannes Film Festival kicks off Tuesday, May 12 and runs through Saturday, May 23. You can read Lee’s statement in which he describes his relationship and history with Cannes below.

“In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected,
when they happened out of nowhere.
When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be President of Cannes Jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time.

To me the Cannes Film Festival
 (besides being the most important film festival in the world – no disrespect to anybody) 
has had a great impact on my film career. You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became 
in world cinema.

It started way back in
1986 – my first feature film She’s Gotta Have It, which won the Prix de la Jeunesse in the
 Director’s Fortnight. The next joint was in 1989 – Do The Right Thing, an Official Selection in Competition.
 And I don’t have the time nor space 
to write about the cinematic explosion that jumped off, still relative to this, 30 years later.

Then, Jungle Fever, 1991 – Official Selection in Competition, Girl 6, 1996 – Official Selection Out of Competition,
 Summer Of Sam, 1999 – Director’s Fortnight
, Ten Minutes Older, 2002 – Official Selection in Un Certain Regard and then BlacKkKlansman, 2018 – Official Selection in Competition where it won the Grand Prix, which became the launching pad
 for the world theatrical release which led to my Academy Award for screenplay.

So if you were keeping score that’s 7 Spike Joints 
to be chosen.

In closing, I’m honored to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named President of the Cannes Jury and of a main film festival

The Lee family sincerely thanks the Festival de Cannes, Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux and 
the great people of France 
who have supported my film career throughout four decades. I will always treasure this special relationship.

Peace and Love,

SPIKE LEE

DA PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF BROOKLYN, NEW YORK.

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Matt Damon is reteaming with his ‘Ford v Ferrari’ director James Mangold for ‘The Force’

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Nearly 14 years after starring in Martin Scorsese‘s brilliant Infernal Affairs remake The Departed, Matt Damon is set to head back into crooked cop movie territory with his Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold.

According to Deadline, Damon is attached to play the lead role of Denny Malone in Mangold’s adaptation of Don Winslow’s 2017 best-selling novel The Force, which is a pretty damn good read if you haven’t gotten around to it yet.

In the book, Malone — a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant — is the dirtiest of dirty cops, having stolen millions of dollars worth of cash and narcotics in the wake of one of the biggest heroin busts in the history of New York City.

Little does Malone know, though, that the feds are hot on his tail “and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the job, his family and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all,” as the book’s official synopsis puts it.

David Mamet wrote and turned in the first draft of the script for The Force in 2017, but Mangold is currently in the middle of a rewrite with his Logan collaborator Scott Frank, so I suppose we’ll see how that turns out.

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Production begins on Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Nightmare Alley’ starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett

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Guillermo del Toro Nightmare Alley Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
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Production is officially underway on Guillermo del Toro’s star-studded new project Nightmare Alley, which features one hell of an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in the leading roles.

An adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s novel of the same name, Nightmare Alley follows Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Cooper), a young and ambitious con man who teams up with a female psychiatrist (Blanchett) for a mentalist act, only to realize that she’s even more corrupt than he is.

Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, David Strathairn, Jim Beaver, and Mark Povinelli round out the film’s cast, with del Toro alumni such as Ron Perlman and Richard Jenkins also said to be in talks to join.

Leonardo DiCaprio was initially supposed to play Cooper’s role but was forced to bow out earlier this year as production on Nightmare Alley would’ve conflicted with that of Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which stars DiCaprio alongside Robert De Niro and is expected to begin shooting in the spring.

No word yet on when Searchlight Pictures plans on releasing Nightmare Alley, but stay tuned for more info on that.

Excited to start shooting today on our new adventure NIGHTMARE ALLEY with @RealGDT and many of our regular gang. pic.twitter.com/lzPHhXpppI

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Phoenix: Warner Bros. invites you to an advance screening of Cathy Yan’s ‘Birds of Prey’

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Birds of Prey screening
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Warner Bros. will release Birds of Prey on February 7 and it’s giving Silver Screen Beat readers in Phoenix a chance to attend an advance screening of the film before it officially opens in theaters.

Our readers in Phoenix can click on this link right now to enter to free passes — good for you and one guest — to attend an advance screening of Birds of Prey happening at Harkins Arizona Mills IMAX on Wednesday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Winners for this contest will be selected and notified on Monday, February 3 via email. Good luck! Below is the official trailer for Birds of Prey as well as some additional details about the film.

Directed by: Cathy Yan

Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, and Ewan McGregor

Opens: Friday, February 7

Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material

Synopsis: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary, and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.

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