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Kevin Willmott shares Kansas-inspired roots, talks award-winning film career

Thursday, September 12, 2019

UDK | Taylor Worden

Oscar-winning film and media studies professor Kevin Willmott said to be an American means to be uncomfortable — and this belief, along with his passion for activism and history, is at the root of many of his screenplays and films.

“The inspiration really comes from the things you believe in,” Willmott said. 

Willmott shared moments from his extensive career and his life in Kansas at “In Conversation with Kevin Willmott” on Sept. 11 at the Dole Institute of Politics.

A Kansas native, Willmott grew up in Junction City, where his love of films first began. 

“We went to the movies every weekend,” Willmott said. “It was a great time to be a kid, and I kind of knew I loved movies from a very early age.” 

Willmott’s Kansas roots have inspired many of his projects, including “Ninth Street” (1999), which tells the story of Junction City in the late 1960s. “Ninth Street” also started his belief in community filmmaking, a concept by which Willmott strongly stands. 

Willmott said community filmmaking is giving opportunities to people in film that are looking for them, and when you do things for them, they will do things for you in return. 

His career continued to develop into films, including “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” “Jayhawkers,” “Chi-Raq” and recently, “BlacKkKlansman.” Read more

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