AceShowbiz - Spike Lee has been named the Cannes Film Festival's first black jury president.
The 62-year-old "BlacKkKlansman" filmmaker will head up those judging films exhibited at this year's (2020) 73rd edition of the iconic French movie event.
In a lengthy statement announcing his appointment, Spike expressed his surprise at being selected - a choice that makes him the first black jury chief.
"In this life I have lived ... my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere," he said. "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."
Spike has exhibited movies at the event for more than three decades, but has had a fraught relationship with festival bosses, notably trashing 1989 jury chief Wim Wenders after "Do the Right Thing" missed out on the Palme d'Or prize.
Explaining what Cannes means to him, the director added, "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."
Although he's had a few run-ins at the festival, he has enjoyed success in recent times, with "BlacKkKlansman", which competed for the Palme d'Or, winning the Grand Prix at the 2018 edition.
Spike succeeds fellow director Alejandro G. Inarritu as president. This year's festival runs from May 12 to 23.