“Please tell [viewers] that this is not a [explicit] sequel to ‘Do the Right Thing’,” he said in joking, yet stern manner.
Lee revealed he worked on the film (shot in 19 days) without the financial backing of a big Hollywood studio because “they” just don’t get us. He said:
“We never went to the studios with this film. [...] We said, ‘Were gonna do this [explicit] film ourselves and show it at Sundance. [...] This whole thing was planned out. [...] They know nothing about black people. And they gonna give me notes about what a young black boy and girl gonna do in Red Hook? [Explicit] no! We had to do it ourselves.”
The Hollywood Reporter describes Lee’s latest project as:
“A coming of age story about Flick (Jules Brown). A preteen private-school student, he is sent against his wishes from his comfortable Atlanta home to spend the summer in a Red Hook housing project with the grandfather he’s never met. That would be Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), a fulminating Baptist preacher determined to deliver the Lord to his sullen grandson. Why this extended visit seemed like a good idea to Flick’s mother (De’Adre Aziza) is a mystery given her icy-cold rapport with the Bishop.
Conscripted to go help fix up the under-attended church, Flick finds some salvation in his friendship with feisty young congregation member Chazz (Tony Lysaith). Her mother (Heather Alicia Simms) is a church trustee who has long been fishing for a marriage proposal from the evasive Bishop Enoch.
As Flick gets to know the neighborhood, documenting his discoveries on his iPad, Lee and co-screenwriter James McBride stuff talking points into the mouths of their characters. These include encroaching gentrification; the decimation of African American neighborhoods by drugs, crime and AIDS; street gangs; impotent police; unemployment; income inequality; healthcare; the elation of seeing a black man elected President, and the disillusionment over the promised change that never materialized.”
Red Hook Summer will screen Tuesday at Sundance at 8:30 a.m. MST, with additional showings on Saturday.