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Keynote Speaker

Spike Lee
Film Director, Producer, Writer

Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was making amateur films by age 20, and won a Student Academy Award for his graduate thesis film. Lee drew attention with his first feature, She's Gotta Have It --one of the most profitable films made in 1986. He is also known for his documentaries and commercials. His first student film, Last Hustle in Brooklyn, was completed when he was an undergraduate at Morehouse College. Lee went on to graduate from the New York University Film School in 1982. Subsequent films, including Malcolm X,Mo' Better Blues, Summer of SamandShe Hate Me, continued to explore social and political issues. 4 Little Girls, a documentary, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1998. In 2006, Lee directed and produced a four-hour documentary for television, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, about life in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also did well at the boxoffice that year with the crime caper Inside Man, starring Clive Owen, Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington. Lee has also had success in directing television commercials, most famously opposite Michael Jordan in Nike's Air Jordan campaign. Other commercial clients include Converse, Taco Bell and Ben & Jerry's. His production company, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, is located in his childhood neighborhood of Fort Greene in Brooklyn.

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