North Texas Daily

Famous filmmaker to visit UNT

Famous filmmaker to visit UNT

October 14
21:15 2010

By T.S. McBride / Contributing Writer –

Spike Lee, director of “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” and “Malcolm X,” will speak at the Murchison Performing Arts Center on Nov. 11.

The Oscar-nominated director will discuss his life, his career and race issues as part of UNT’s Fine Arts Series. The event is free to students, but seating is first come, first served.

“Spike Lee has paved the way for so many things in independent cinema,” said Mark Packer, assistant director for programs of the University Union. “Not to mention the role of African-American actors in film.”

Tickets have been available to students since Oct. 11, although the 25th hour negotiations with Lee’s representatives weren’t completed until Wednesday. The general public will be able to get tickets for $30 on Oct. 18. Tickets will also be available for senior citizens, non-UNT students and UNT faculty, staff and the Alumni Association for $15.

Lee will receive a $25,000 fee for his appearance — a typical amount, Packer said. The lecture, like all Fine Arts Series programs, will be paid for with student service fees. Programs are selected by a committee made up of the Student Government Association, faculty senate and staff administration officials.

“I think this is pretty exciting,” said Mark Castaneda, a mechanical and energy engineering senior. “I think it is a big deal for the university, especially the minority groups.”

Lee has directed 46 movies, documentaries and TV programs, many of which he has also acted in. He has been twice nominated for an Oscar — in 1990 for Best Director for “Do the Right Thing” and in 1998 for Best Documentary Feature for “4 Little Girls.”

The director has developed a reputation for dealing with racially charged issues in his movies. His behavior off-screen has sometimes drawn controversy, such as when he criticized director Clint Eastwood for not having any black soldiers in his World War II drama, “Flags of Our Fathers.”

The Fine Arts Series program is the longest running program on campus. It was established in 1903 by the faculty senate when UNT was called the North Texas Normal College, and the program was charged with bringing arts and culture to the students.

“I think that arts are such a great part of our society, and I think now more than ever we need the arts to help us bridge the gap in becoming better global citizens,” Packer said. “The arts are so international and so much that happens in the arts happens on a global scale.”

The program brought the Moscow Boys Choir to the university three times from 2002 to 2006. In 2006, it sponsored a visit from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

“I will definitely go,” said Nicole Shaw, a biology sophomore. “I love his creativity.”

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