“Without Spike Lee I Wouldn’t Be A Filmmaker” by Adisa

Film Courage: If Spike Lee didn’t make SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, would you be a filmmaker today?

Adisa, Writer/Director: Wow? For you to ask that question it’s so poignant because it’s likely that I wouldn’t. And it’s very likely that I wouldn’t. I knew that I wanted to help people. I knew I wanted a career that was going to service my community possibly around black men and what that looked like (rites of passage programs or whatever).

But the film thing didn’t become a reality for me until I saw Spike Lee’s early work. I think it has a lot to do with modeling. We don’t have a lot of…whether it’s women or men (black men that is), there is something to be said about representation and modeling. And at the time Spike Lee came around there wasn’t a lot of black filmmakers, I mean…that you knew about. There was Gordon Parks, he had done some work (SHAFT). And there was Michael Schultz, he had done COOLEY HIGH. I loved the films but I didn’t know particularly that they were a black man.

There was something about Spike Lee and his signature work when he was doing SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, DO THE RIGHT THING and it was just so pronounced and so much of a signature around black culture and I was like This is what I want to do.

To answer your question which is a really good question, I don’t know if I would have been a filmmaker? Maybe I think I owe my career to Spike Lee? I don’t know if I would have been led down that path, I don’t. Yes…that’s really powerful. He has had a profound effect on me in terms of that.

Film Courage: So you saw the film and then you decided to attend college at NYU Tisch?

Adisa: Yes. Well I was going back east to the University of Massachusetts and then I had heard about him making a movie. And then I saw the movie in New York on my way to UMass Amherst when I was driving across country with a friend. I was just amazed.

And so going into…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



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