Some other words here...
40 Acres and a Mule


Project Information:

Celebrating 20 Films in 20 Years

Campaign Overview

Spike Lee had a busy year in 2006, releasing the most commercially successful feature film of his career ( Inside Man) in addition to When the Levees Broke, his feature-length documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a project close to his heart. He also celebrated his 20th anniversary in film. As his agency of record for 12 years, BazanPR took the initiative to help Lee mark the milestone year and create awareness for his two new films.


  • To generate awareness and build an audience for the feature film Inside Man
  • To create awareness and build an audience for When the Levees Broke (HBO)
  • To create awareness for Spike Lee's 20th anniversary in film and have his achievements recognized by key industry players


It was to be an intense six months, from March 2006 when Inside Man was released to critical acclaim and big box office to August when HBO aired When the Levees Broke on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to December when it was released on DVD. BazanPR set the stage for the Spike Lee publicity campaign with a prominent New York Times retrospective of the filmmaker's career that ran the weekend Inside Man was released. Media coverage was strategically placed, in some cases purposely emphasizing the film itself over the director in order to build a broad-based audience.

To maintain the buzz in between the releases, in May BazanPR planned and executed a celebrity-studded tribute to Lee on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship aptly named Freedom of the Seas. Word of the red-carpet event, attended by Lee's friends including Samuel L. Jackson, George Lucas, Wesley Snipes and Oprah Winfrey, and featuring comedy performances by Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, appeared in celebrity columns and TV shows nationwide. The event also raised money for Morehouse College, the Atlanta-based liberal arts college for African-American men and New York University's film school, where Lee studied and now serves as dean of the graduate film program.

The HBO premiere of When the Levees Broke was an event. A red-carpet screening was arranged at the New Orleans Arena, home to the NBA Hornets, the week before the television premiere. One-on-one interviews with Spike Lee were booked as were media roundtables. BazanPR arranged a well-attended press conference prior to the premiere, followed by a second press conference the morning after, featuring some of the hurricane victims profiled in the film.

BazanPR took advantage of the extensive national media coverage surrounding the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to coverage in the entertainment press, When the Levees Broke received widespread attention in national news as well.


Spike Lee was one of the most talked-about Hollywood celebrities of the year in 2006. His high media profile was a contributing factor to his being named a GQ Man of the Year and one of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year. Additional national placements recognizing Lee's 20th anniversary in film and quoting prominent filmmakers inspired by him, included mainstream press such as Good Morning America, USA Weekend, GQ, Vibe, Entertainment Weekly, Jet Magazine, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, USAToday. BazanPR also made the most of local media in New York, capitalizing on the fact that Lee was raised in Brooklyn. UPN and NY1 24-hour news channel ran half-hour retrospective TV specials.

More Case Studies: