A "school daze" is about to hit ASU when renowned director Spike Lee comes to the Gammage Auditorium this Friday night for a Film Spark event.
Lee, who directed such iconoclastic films as “Do the Right Thing,” will be speaking about contemporary issues such as race relations, as well as his work in a film landscape populated largely by studios producing remakes, reboots and sequels.
Adam Collis, ASU professor and director of Film Spark, said he was excited about the opportunity to bring this kind of talent to the school.
“It’s a really huge opportunity for both the film community and the ASU community as a whole," he said.
Lee’s talk is a Film Spark event, which works on ways to connect film students to the professional movie industry, planning such events as the Hollywood in Tempe screening series.
Ashley Peatross graduated from ASU in December and became a Film Spark fellow, one of three alumni who work part-time at the Film Spark office in Santa Monica, helped to plan the event.
"It's been really neat," Peatross said. "Mr. Lee is such an iconic and important filmmaker, so helping to bring him to ASU has been great."
Zach Ragatz, another Film Spark Fellow and ASU alumnus, also said he is excited for Friday’s talk because he feels that Lee is an important voice in the film industry.
“I think he’s a great filmmaker, and his films are important, and he has an incredibly unique voice,” Ragatz said. “But also, I think he’s not afraid to voice his opinions, which as an artist is quite admirable. I think he’s going to do a great job of speaking to the diverse group of people at ASU."
Ragatz, who has helped keep track of ticket sales, said that the number of people attending the event is quite impressive — something he attributes to Lee’s large and diverse fanbase.
“I think he’s someone who really appeals to many different people,” Ragatz said. “Regardless of whether or not you’ve seen his films, he's somebody who you want to know what he has to say.”
Although film students are surely excited about the opportunity to see such a prolific filmmaker speak, students of various other majors are interested in the event as well.
Junior Supply Chain Management student Ryan Uretsky said provocative filmmakers like Lee are important to the industry.
“We need creative filmmakers producing unique ideas that can get an audience to think, or laugh, or anything else,” he said. “But I also think there is also a certain entertainment in seeing updated classics. It should be very interesting to see (Lee's) point of view on what the major differences are between himself and other visionary filmmakers and mainstream filmmakers.”
Tickets for tomorrow’s event can be reserved at the event's website. Tickets that have already been reserved can be picked up outside Gammage tomorrow between noon and 6 p.m. before the show begins at 7 p.m.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow @S_Weinstein95 on Twitter.