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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Spike Lee contest winners impress judges

Six UA students have the opportunity to meet filmmaker Spike Lee before his 7 p.m. lecture Wednesday in Centennial Hall.

Coriana Close, Geoff Allen, John Allison, Julius Hindy, Mitch Turbenson and Tomara Moss are the winners of the University Activities Board contest. Members of the activities board and other students judged the contest. Requirements for the competition included submitting an application as well as a letter, script or original movie saying why the applicant wants to meet Lee.

Close, 26, a fine arts master’s candidate in photography, said she wants to discuss her thesis project with Lee. “”I want to do a video installation and abstract visual representation of African-American history, and I wanted to talk to him about it and get some suggestions,”” Close said.

Lee’s “”Inside Man”” was filmed across the street from her godmother’s house and Close said the movie “”reminded me of home.””

Allison, 50, a natural resources graduate student, has a lot in common with Lee, who’s a couple years older than he. Both Allison and Lee grew up in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn, N.Y. Their fathers were jazz artists and even performed together in the ’60s. Allison and Lee attended the New York University Tisch School of the Arts and both are filmmakers — Allison’s film “”FDNY Dream Bike”” was shown at Gallagher Theater. While they share mutual friends, Allison said he’s never got the chance to talk to Lee. He hopes to have a chat with Lee and discuss his film proposal on blues music.

Psychology sophomore Hindy doesn’t have filmmaking aspirations but said Lee is one of his greatest idols. “”Meeting him would be an honor and a privilege”” Hindy added.

Hindy said “”He Got Game”” is his favorite Lee film because the story is so similar to that of his own cousin’s. Hindy’s cousin, who had once been in jail, helped nurture his son’s hockey career. He now plays for a college hockey team.

Freshman Allen has applied to the UA School of Media Arts. “”I thought that meeting a famous director would be an excellent experience for someone like me,”” he said.

Allen submitted a 16-page script for the contest called “”A Week of Shenanigans.”” The script revolves around a college student who loses a Meet Spike Lee contest and tries everything to sneak into Centennial Hall to meet the director. “”I really just tried to make my story as funny as I could,”” Allen said.

Moss, an education graduate student in special education, has had a life full of obstacles, including abuse.

“”I’ve overcome so much great adversity, I feel like this is an opportunity for me to give back,”” Moss said.

She works with a disadvantaged population and admires Lee for creating stories that deal with adversity and tough issues in the African-American community. “”I feel like this would be a great opportunity to talk to him … and share my story,”” Moss said.

Moss has aspirations of becoming a spokesperson and author, and hopes to have her story depicted in a movie. “”I want to give people the strength to overcome the worst in life,”” she said.

Classical guitar performance and math sophomore Turbenson said his love for music motivated him to enter the contest. “”I’m a big fan of the musical scoring in his films. Instead of the tradition of using orchestral pieces for the introduction, he takes a lot of jazz into his films as the background music,”” Turbenson said.

He said Lee really makes the audience listen to how the music also acts as a storyteller. “”It would be really cool to have a discussion with him to discuss art and the use of music in his films.””

Chris Hargraves, senior coordinator and adviser, and Munerra Muhammad, a pre-pharmacy and religious studies senior, are the Spike Lee event coordinators and also acted as contest judges.

The judging panel consisted of a mix of activities board members and other campus organization leaders. Panelists were asked to judge on the basis of creativity and sincerity.

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