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By Brad Wilke | April 23, 2009

The 2009 Seattle International Film Festival announced that it will present a special Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing to Spike Lee on Saturday, May 23 at Seattle’s historic Egyptian Theatre. The tribute ceremony will include a montage of clips highlighting Mr. Lee’s diverse work as a director, as well as a screening of his new film “Passing Strange,” based on the hit Broadway production of the same name. Prior to the screening, Mr. Lee will take part in an in-depth interview and audience Q&A.

“It is a great privilege for us to present this award to Spike Lee in Seattle,” says SIFF Artistic Director Carl Spence. “As someone in the prime of his career with a dynamic body of work to his credit, Spike truly deserves this honor. Seattle audiences will be delighted to be part of this tribute to a gifted filmmaker and genuine cultural icon.”

SIFF will also feature a screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s new film, “Tetro,” which will be introduced by Mr. Coppola and the film’s star, actor/director Vincent Gallo. Based on his first original screenplay since 1974, the semi-autobiographical “Tetro” is set in Argentina and follows the attempts of two brothers as they come to terms with their troubled pasts. The screening will take on Wednesday, June 10, during the last week of the festival.

Now in its 35th year, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest and most highly-attended film festival in the United States, showcasing more than 400 films from over 60 countries to an audience of 150,000 attendees annually. The 2009 edition runs May 21 through June 14 and the complete program schedule will be available Thursday, May 7, at

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