With his Kickstarter-success Da Sweet Blood of Jesus set to premiere in theaters on February 15th, director Spike Lee sat down with Entertainment Weekly to share details about his new project and its crowdfunding campaign.
During the interview, Lee discussed the back story of the film. “Well, it begins at NYU. I’ve been a professor of film at NYU for the past 15 years. My introduction to crowdsourcing was through my students. They were using Indiegogo and Kickstarter to finance their films. That’s where I got the idea from.
“And once I got the idea it came down to, What will I do? Because I knew that I’m not raising 5, 10, whatever, million on Kickstarter, especially the first time out. It’s going to be a very modest budget. I’ve always enjoyed Ganja & Hess and I had a meeting with Chiz Schultz, who was the producer of the original. I said it would be interesting to do a homage to that film but make it contemporary. That’s how it happened. We’re very happy with the way it came out. I think that the world is introduced to some very fine actors: Steve and particularly Zaraah. I think she’s wonderful in this film.”
Sharing details about first meeting Zaraah, Lee stated, “Again, it comes back to NYU. One of my students was screening for me her thesis film and [Zaraah] was in the film. I said, ‘I want to talk to her!’ The student gave me her number, and we talked, and then I was in London, and I auditioned her, and she got the part.”
Also discussing the campaign’s reward, going to a New York Knicks game, Lee noted, “The good thing was, it was last year—because the Knicks are horrible this year. In fact, they’re playing in London tomorrow and I was going to go, but I said, ‘Uh-uh, not now.’ I’d like to give a shout out to Steven Soderbergh, because he was the first one to buy a seat next to me. Mr Soderbergh, thank you very much.
“[I am] not really [a Knicks fan]. But we’re fellow filmmakers, and Do the Right Thing and Sex, Lies and Videotape are always going to be linked together, because we were both in Cannes together. We both come from independent backgrounds and he was helping me out. This came out of nowhere. In fact, that’s the first time that we actually spent any time together since Cannes, and that was 1989.”
In regards to his next project, Lee added, “Well, currently I’m in production on a documentary on Michael Jackson’s album, Off the Wall. I’m in post-production with a feature-length documentary about Brazil called Go Brazil, Go! I’m executive producer on, and presenting, one of [my] student’s films, which is called Cronies. The world premiere is going to be at Sundance, the director’s name is Michael Larnell. And I’m writing and teaching. Working!”
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