Spike Lee talks race and politics at Montreal International Black Film Festival

BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee says the rise of right-wing movements and anti-immigrant sentiment isn’t just an American problem.

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American film director Spike Lee responds to a question during a news conference in Montreal, Sept. 26. The BlacKkKlansman director attended the Montreal International Black Film Festival Wednesday where he held a discussion about politics and the recent box-office success of movies featuring Black directors and stars. (PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

MONTREAL — BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee says the rise of right-wing movements and anti-immigrant sentiment isn’t just an American problem.

But he says that while’s he’s angered by persistent racism and the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, he’s also encouraged by grassroots movements to bring positive change.

Lee made the comments at the Montreal International Black Film Festival, where he held a wide-ranging discussion on filmmaking, politics and the recent box-office success of movies featuring Black directors and stars.

BlacKkKlansman stars John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, a real-life Black police detective who infiltrated a Ku Klux Klan cell in Colorado in the 1970s.

But Lee says the inclusion of footage from last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, N.C., shows that the kind of racism depicted in the film is neither fictional nor in the past.

It’s the 61-year-old filmmaker’s third appearance at the festival and his first time in Canada since his film won the Grand Prix du Jury at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

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