Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Spike Lee’s 4-hour HBO documentary If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don’t Rise, premiering August 23-24 about the lingering impact of Hurricane Katrina, was already done shooting when BP’s oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. Even so, the director decided to devote the final hour of the documentary to that disaster — and show what he alleges is the corruption and corner-cutting that surrounded the deadly explosion and subsequent clean-up effort. “We went back seven times after the BP spill to get more footage,” he told the TV critics at his HBO session. “It’s really eye-opening the power that BP has. There’s no way it should be dictating what’s going on. But it shows the power of the company.” Spike said “the connective tissue is greed. I don’t care hoew many scientists BP buys, that oil is still there. [BP] has been lying from the get-go. You’re telling me we’ve had the biggest oil disaster in the world and it’s all gone now? Where did it go? No damage done to the wetlands? I don’t believe it. As journalists, you need to ask questions and not accept the lies being told.”
Lee switched gears and praised Sean Penn, the Hollywood activist who spent time first in post-Katrina New Orleans and then in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. “[He] doesn’t live in the United States anymore. He lives in Port-au-Prince. That’s his life now, trying to get [Haiti] on its feet. I have to commend him for that. He’s not living in a palace. He’s living in a tent. He put in his dues and time to speak about Haiti.”