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Cannes Lions to honour filmmaker Spike Lee with inaugural ‘Creative Maker of the Year’ award

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will celebrate its 70th edition with this honorary award

Spike Lee

Cannes Lions has announced the first honorary ‘Creative Maker of the Year’ award as part of the 70th edition of the International Festival of Creativity which will be presented to filmmaker Spike Lee.

Supported by Black At Cannes, the award honours Lee whose body of work has made a mark on filmmaking, television and the creative industry. As the founder of his creative agency, Spike DDB, his mission has been to help brands change the world by keeping pace with culture. 

Alongside receiving the award, Lee will speak on the Festival stage in a keynote fireside chat, with filmmaker and director, Barry Alexander Brown, on Friday June 23 between 10-10:30 am.  

Lee said, “I’m honoured to accept the inaugural Cannes Lions Creative Maker of the Year award for my contributions to the advertising industry, but a reminder: ‘We keep having these obstacles, these hurdles, we have to face and we have to keep knocking them down.’ I said this in 1997 and still say it today.”

Lee’s career spans over 30 years, receiving five Oscar nominations for his films: Do The Right Thing, 4 Little Girls, and the critically acclaimed hit BlacKkKlansman that he co-wrote and directed, going on to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2018. He was also awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2015 for his lifetime achievement and contributions to the motion picture arts and sciences.

Lee is also known for his Jordan Brand TV commercials and marketing campaigns with Michael Jordan.

Shannon Watkins, Chief Marketing Officer at Jordan Brand, said, "Spike’s focus on telling stories, combined with his ability to capture the pulse of Black Culture sets him apart from others in the industry. Spike created iconic memories, and helped to build the soul of what Jordan Brand represents. Maybe the shoes on our feet wouldn’t make us jump as high as MJ, but just for a moment, we might feel the confidence and self-belief of the greatest to ever do it.”

Peter O Ukhurebor, Founder of Black At Cannes, commented, "Spike Lee is a creative role model who has paved the way for so many black creatives. The Creative Maker of the Year award inspires us to continue spearheading the creation of pathways for diverse voices and promoting inclusion and equity across the global creative industry. We applaud the partnership."

Cannes Lions will take place in Cannes, France, from June 19-23. Further information on the awards and festival can be found at

Simon Cook, CEO of Lions, said, “We know that world-class creative work takes so much to deliver. Since its inception, Cannes Lions has always been about the makers and the creatives who walk through walls to realise their vision. Going forward, this award will honour creative makers, from any discipline who are inspirational beacons for our whole community. In our 70th year, it seems appropriate that the inaugural Creative Maker award should go to a director. It’s a huge honour to present Spike Lee, one of the most influential figures in contemporary cinema and culture, with this accolade live at the Festival. Spike embodies the spirit of this award as a maker that strives to make creative stories and show the world what they can only see in their imaginations.”

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