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Spike Lee Discusses Race in America at Virginia Film Festival

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Spike Lee discusses race at the Virginia Film Festival Spike Lee discusses race at the Virginia Film Festival
The Virginia Film Festival was held at the Paramount Theatre The Virginia Film Festival was held at the Paramount Theatre
Virginia Film Festival Virginia Film Festival
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Movie fans at the 30th annual Virginia Film Festival lined up along Charlottesville's Downtown Mall on Saturday, November 11, waiting to get into the Paramount Theatre to hear from the festival's celebrity headliner.

Oscar award-winning writer and director Spike Lee headlined the film festival on Saturday afternoon. He led a discussion about race in America before showing two of his works.

The event started off with Lee asking the audience for a moment of silence to remember Heather Heyer, the Charlottesville woman killed in the car attack on August 12. 

Lee spoke about terrorism and the history of slavery and Native American genocide in the United States.

Lee presented his documentary "I Can't Breathe," about Eric Garner's 2014 death in police custody. He also showed his 1997 documentary, "4 Little Girls," which chronicles the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four black girls and helped spark the civil rights movement.

Charlottesville social activist Don Gathers attended the event and offered some insight into where the discussion goes from here.

“We’ve got to open up and entertain a dialogue, we’ve got to be willing to talk about the dark part of our history, figure out how to actually put that on the table in a meaningful and honest way and be forthright about what this country really represents,” says Gathers.

Saturday’s event was part of the film festival's "Race in America" series which also includes screenings of "O.J.: Made in America,” "Hidden Figures," and others.

The Virginia Film Festival wraps up Sunday evening. To view the schedule and purchase tickets to the final day's screenings, see the festival’s website.

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