Spike Lee Teaches Filmmaking

Introducing our newest MasterClass, Spike Lee Teaches Filmmaking.

Lee is an auteur and master storyteller who has written, directed, produced, and acted in films ranging from big studio pictures to micro-budget independents. His work stands as a testament to cinema’s power to entertain, explore, celebrate, and critique American culture and social political issues—starting in 1983 with his Student Academy Award winning graduate thesis film Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop – We Cut Heads, to Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated Do The Right Thing and 4 Little Girls, Emmy winning When The Levees Broke, Malcolm X, and more recently, the Netflix revival of She’s Gotta Have It. Lee has also helped integrate what has long been a homogenous industry through his production companies 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks and Spike DDB.

In his MasterClass, Lee teaches students how to tell stories that need to be told. He analyzes his work both on the page and on the screen, and dives into the technicalities of writing stories, working with actors, camera angles, financing, and choosing music. He examines the hurdles facing first-time filmmakers, and shares learnings from his own experiences with overcoming obstacles in the film industry. Lee discusses how he has tried to impact culture with his movies, and urges students to be conscious of the relationship between their work and the world.

“There are no absolute truths in filmmaking and no one way to be a filmmaker,” said Lee, artistic director and professor of NYU’s Graduate Film Program. “I’ve learned in 30 years things that I can give back. I’m teaching this MasterClass because very few people get to sit in my classes at NYU, so this is an opportunity for me to share what I’ve learned with as many students as possible, no matter where they are in their film career.”

“Spike is one of the best in the world at telling stories that provoke and impact. His gift is using storytelling to tap into the heart of critical social and political issues, and still entertain. His films have changed American culture. They make us question ourselves and our values. They break rules and help launch careers of some of the world’s best actors and filmmakers. This class is for anyone who feels they have an important story to tell, and we’re honored to capture his mastery to continue to inspire generations to come.” —David Rogier, co-founder & CEO