The Cannes Lions Festival, celebrating its 70th edition, has introduced a brand-new award titled the Creative Maker of the Year, which will be presented at the International Festival of Creativity. This award acknowledges the exceptional work and creativity of makers from various disciplines and serves as a platform to honor world-class talent.
The inaugural recipient of the Creative Maker of the Year award is the legendary Spike Lee. Known for his remarkable achievements as a filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, and producer, Lee has made an indelible impact on the creative industry. This recognition is a testament to his outstanding contributions and the immense value he brings to the world of creativity.
Simon Cook, CEO of Cannes Lions, emphasized the festival’s commitment to celebrating creative makers who push boundaries and bring their visions to life. He highlighted that the award aims to honor inspirational beacons from any discipline who inspire the entire creative community.
The Creative Maker award aligns perfectly with this year’s focus on directors, and it is fitting that Spike Lee has been chosen as the first recipient. Lee, one of the most influential figures in contemporary cinema and culture, embodies the essence of this award as someone who strives to create imaginative stories and showcase unseen perspectives. The presentation of this accolade to Lee during the festival adds further significance to the occasion.
The Creative Maker of the Year award is supported by Black At Cannes, an initiative dedicated to amplifying the voices of Black creatives at Cannes and within the global creative industry. Founder Peter O Ukhurebor expressed admiration for Spike Lee’s impact as a creative role model, recognizing his efforts in paving the way for diverse voices. The award serves as an inspiration to continue promoting inclusion and equity across the creative industry.
Upon receiving the award, Spike Lee expressed his gratitude and acknowledged the ongoing challenges faced by creatives. He stated, “I’m honored 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.”
During the Cannes Lions Festival on June 23, 2023, Spike Lee will participate in a keynote conversation with filmmaker and director Barry Alexander Brown. With a career spanning over three decades, Lee has received numerous accolades, including five Oscar nominations and an Honorary Oscar for his lifetime achievements. His thought-provoking films like “Do the Right Thing,” “4 Little Girls,” and “BlacKkKlansman” have left an indelible mark on the industry.