Film-maker Spike Lee is planning to shoot a documentary about the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Lee's film, tentatively titled When the Levee
Broke, is expected to tackle the US administration's heavily criticised handling
of the disaster. US cable channel HBO is producing the documentary, which Lee
wants to complete in time for the first anniversary of the floods.
No stranger to controversy, Lee has already stated his suspicion that
the authorities were somehow involved in the flooding. Asked about conspiracy
theories during an appearance on CNN, he said: "I don't put anything past
the United States government. I don't find it too far-fetched that they tried
to displace all the black people out of New Orleans."
Lee first came to widespread public attention in 1988 with his film Do the Right
Thing, which dissected the motives behind a race riot in New York to explosive
effect. Since then, Lee's films, or "joints", have tended to place racial
issues front and centre.
Bamboozled saw an African-American TV exec finding an unexpected hit with a minstrel
show; Jungle Fever dealt with interracial dating; and the documentary 4 Little
Girls recounted the events behind the racially motivated bombing of a church in
Birmingham, Alabama. Lee's 1992 biopic of civil rights campaigner Malcolm X won
several awards and garnered an Oscar nomination for its star, Denzel Washington.