Debate, discussion kick off Spike Lee Film Festival

SPike lee movies

The streets of Brooklyn as portrayed in many Spike Lee films may seem worlds away from this mountain town, but an event this week is expected to show how the films’ lessons are relevant to a community like Flagstaff.

The event will feature a screening of Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing, as well as a debate with members of the NAU Forensics Team and a panel discussion with community leaders.

It begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at the Orpheum Theater, 15 W. Aspen St.

The event kicks off NAU’s Spike Lee Film Festival, with the remaining films screened on campus through Jan. 26. The festival culminates with an in-person visit by Lee on Jan. 27 at Ardrey Auditorium.

There is a suggested donation of $5 to $10 to attend the Do the Right Thing screening and discussion, but all other movies in the Spike Lee Film Festival are free.

“We want to capitalize on Spike Lee’s upcoming visit by viewing his films and hearing how our community views racial conflicts,” said Jane Marks, director of NAU’s Martin-Springer Institute, which organized the film festival. “We can use this opportunity as a jumping off point to address inequities in our own community.”

Friday’s event will feature the NAU Forensics Team debating the justification and effectiveness of violence in the civil rights movement. A panel discussion among local community leaders will include Flagstaff City Council member Coral Evans, Native American artist and author Shonto Begay, and Jim Gutierrez, principal of Killip Elementary School.

Tickets for An Evening with Spike Lee on Jan. 27 are $30 for the public, $15 for NAU faculty and staff and free for students. Tickets are required and available at (928) 523-5661. That same evening, the debate team will be soliciting donations for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

In the event of a weather-related cancellation, news and updates will be posted online at