Noted filmmaker Spike Lee is making headlines this week for receiving his first Academy Award nominations for Best Director and for Best Picture, both for his film “BlacKKlansman.” While all eyes will be on the 91st Academy Awards Feb. 24, many at Sonoma State University will be focusing on another of Lee’s masterpieces the following weekend, as the Sonoma Film Institute will be screening and celebrating the 30th anniversary of his American classic “Do the Right Thing.”
“Do the Right Thing,” a film some claim was snubbed of a Best Picture Oscar when it was released in 1989, will be screened Fri., March 1 at 7 p.m. at Warren Auditorium on campus. Actor Roger Guenveur Smith, who played the part of Smiley in the film, will appear after the screening for a Q&A. Smith will also take part in a roundtable discussion the following day at 10 a.m. in Ballroom C of the SSU Student Center to discuss the film, Lee’s legacy and current political events such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of racial tensions and hate crimes in the United States. To conclude the weekend, on March 3 at 7 p.m., Smith will present his internationally acclaimed solo performance “Frederick Douglass Now,” a monologue that mixes Douglass’ 19th-century editorials, speeches and letters with his own original writing.
Since 1973, the Sonoma Film Institute has maintained a tradition of screening the best of contemporary cinema to local audiences, annually showing more than 30 films, divided between the fall and spring semesters, ranging from avant-garde to silent cinema. The institute’s spring 2019 season will continue the tradition of screening a variety of cinema, this year ranging from the North Bay premiere of the Palme d’Or winner “The Wild Pear Tree,” to the Oscar contender for Best Documentary Film “Hale County This Morning This Evening.” The director of “Hale County This Morning This Evening,” RaMell Ross, will be on campus to introduce his film and answer questions after the screening on April 26.
All films will be screened in the Warren Auditorium in Ives Hall at SSU. Admission is free throughout the season with a suggested donation of $5. There is a $5 parking fee in all university lots. For more information, visit the Sonoma Film Institute’s homepage.