Filmmaker Spike Lee Speaks at MU

Apr 7, 2016

Spike Lee speaks to a master class in an event hosted by the Missouri School of Journalism on April 6, 2016.
Credit Aleissa Bleyl / KBIA

Renowned filmmaker Spike Lee spoke to students and faculty during an invite-only master class on MU’s campus Wednesday afternoon.

Stacey Woelfel, director of the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at MU, helped coordinate the event. He said discussions for Lee to teach a master class started during Lee’s previous visit to Columbia.

Woelfel said Lee was invited to campus as part of an ongoing series where students hear from filmmakers first-hand on their work in the film industry.

Spike Lee, he said, is the biggest name in the series so far.

“And so with each of the visitors, including with Spike Lee, the idea was to give students a chance to hear how they make what they make, why they make what they make, and I think we just heard that this afternoon,” Woelfel said.

Journalism graduate student Kiara Ealy attended the event, and said it was an amazing opportunity to receive advice from a world-renowned filmmaker like Spike Lee and watch his recent documentary, Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, with Lee in the room.

“In moments like that where he spoke, I’m like ‘this is what I love to do,’” Ealy said. “And another thing he said is follow your passion, no matter what money is involved, no matter what the monetary value or the reward of your job. If you don’t like doing it, then it’s not worth it.”

On Wednesday night, Lee also showed a special, hour-long edition of his latest film entitled “2 Fists Up” at the Missouri Theatre. It’s a documentary film about the racial issues across the U.S. and the Concerned Student 1950 movement, at the Missouri Theatre Wednesday night. A shorter version will air on ESPN in June.