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Lee will accept the award prior on August 31 to the world premiere of his out-of-competition screening of his new documentary Bad 25, about the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Bad album.
The award was created by the festival with Jaeger-LeCoultre to honor an artist’s original mark on contemporary cinema.
The multiple Oscar-winning director of Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, 25th Hour and Inside Man, Lee previously directed two videoclips for Jackson songs They Don’t Care About Us, in 1997, and This Is It in 2009.
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said of Lee: “A creative and combative spirit, author of audacious and scathing films which are often unpredictable and provocative in the best sense of the word.”
Recent recipients of the nod include Takeshi Kitano, Abbas Kiarostami, Sylvester Stallone and Al Pacino.
The 69th edition of the Venice Film Festival will run from August 29 to September 8.