Spike Lee Talks ‘Red Hook Summer’, Crooked Mega Churches + Stress Management

Recently, we chatted with the legendary Spike Lee (real name Shelton Jackson) about his new critically-acclaimed, independent film RED HOOK SUMMER. His latest film, in his “Chronicles of Brooklyn” (which include SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, DO THE RIGHT THING, CROOKLYN, CLOCKERS, and HE GOT GAME), tells the story of Flik Royale (Jules Brown), a sullen young boy from middle-class Atlanta who has come to spend thesummer with his deeply religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), in the housing projects of Red Hook. Peep a few excerpt from our interview.

On how he manages stress, when filming a producing a self-financed film like Red Hook Summer:

You have to have a goal and do whatever it takes to get it done. There are going to be stumbles, hurdles and disappointments but you have to recover, dust those things off and keep it moving. Don’t lose sleep at night, don’t toss and turn. Keep focused and keep going. I go to the gym. Now it’s different because I’ll go to a Yankee game, otherwise I’m screaming court side at The Garden.

On what type of marketing strategies he uses to promote a self-financed film:

This is not a studio endeavor so not only is this self financed, it’s self distribution too. It’s challenging but you have to go with what you’ve got. You hit the radio stations you do your interviews, you do what you have to do to get the word out. Once the word is out I think people will come. And it’s been proven with the release in New York. Friday it opened in Long Island, New Jersey, DC, Atlanta, LA and Chicago. Next week will be big.

On if he feels that the black church has somehow forgotten about young people:

Any church, not only the black church, who wants to survive cannot have a congregation of only senior citizens or the church will die. There must be an infusion of youth.

On what inspired the signature Spike Lee shot:

It’s in there but I must say I didn’t invent that shot. Ernest Dickenson who went to Howard and we went to NYU graduate film school together, he was my camera man. While working on Mo Better Blues one day he said let’s try this and we liked it and continued to use it.

On what he would like movie-goers to take away from the film:

I don’t answer that question. I don’t think I should dictate what the audience should feel coming out of the movie theater. I have too much respect for them. They are intelligent and smart, they don’t have to be told ‘You should think this’ after watching for two hours unless they were sleeping. Everyone is coming to the theater with different experiences.

Peep some candid (as in iPhone candid) footage of Spike discussing his issues w/ some mega churches.

[youtube width=”590″ height=”415″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNWZbBPbIro[/youtube]

This weekend, movie-goers in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and DC can check out the film.