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Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Comes to OKC to Discuss Work

Kevin Willmott
Kevin Willmott. Photos courtesy of Steve Puppe Photography

Oscar-winning film writer and director Kevin Willmott will discuss his work during a presentation at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art following a screening of his retro comedy film “Destination: Planet Negro!” at 8 p.m. March 13. The event is free to the public and is co-sponsored by the Oklahoma City University Film Institute and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. It will be held in the museum’s Samuel Roberts Noble Theater.

Willmott is known for work focusing on issues of race. He has collaborated with Spike Lee on “Chi-Raq” and “BlacKKKlansman,” which was awarded the 2018 Cannes Grand Prix, the 2019 American Academy and British Academy of Film awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, the Best Screenplay Award of the African-American Film Critics Association, and was named in many critics’ top-10 lists for the year. He is working with Lee again on an upcoming Vietnam-era story titled “Da 5 Bloods.” He also wrote the stage play “Becoming Martin” about Martin Luther King Jr.’s early years.

Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas, and studied drama at Marymount College. After graduation, he returned home where he began working as a peace and civil rights activist as he fought for the rights of the poor, created two Catholic Worker shelters for the homeless, and forced the integration of several long-standing segregated institutions. He then went on to study film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received several writing awards and his MFA in dramatic writing and joined his interests in creative activity and social justice. Willmott is a professor of film and media studies at the University of Kansas.

For more information about the presentation and screening, visit the film institute’s website at okcu.edu/film-lit.

Description of “Destination: Planet Negro!” from the Candy Factory Films production company:

In 1939, leaders of the Black community in America come up with a secret solution to the problems of racism and discrimination — leave the planet! They launch a rocketship with three astronauts — the intrepid Professor Avery; his beautiful and intelligent daughter Beneatha; and crack test pilot “Race” Johnson — to claim the planet Mars. Will these brave explorers make it to “Planet Negro”? What lies on the other side of the wormhole they fall into on the way?

Kevin Willmott’s work:

Film

  • “Ninth Street” (1999) – director, writer, producer, actor
  • “Das Bus” (2003) – self
  • “The Search for Inflata-boy” (2003) – actor
  • “The Fascist of X-Mart” (2003) – actor
  • “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” (2004) – director, writer
  • “Waiting for the Son” (2007) – actor
  • “Bunker Hill” (2008) – director, writer, producer
  • “The Only Good Indian” (2008) – director, producer
  • “Destination: Planet Negro!” (2013) – director, writer
  • “Jayhawkers” (2013) – director, writer, producer
  • “Chi-Raq” (2015) – co-writer
  • “BlacKkKlansman” (2018) – co-writer
  • “I, Too, Sing America: Langston Hughes Unfurled” (documentary, in production) – co-director
  • “Da 5 Bloods” (feature, in production) – co-writer

Television

  • “The ’70s” (2000) – writer
  • “High Tech Lincoln” (2005) – producer

Theater

  • “Becoming Martin” (2018) – writer