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Solving “The Negro Problem” Using Satire: The ‘Destination’ Interview With Director Kevin Willmott

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kevin Willmott, co-writer of Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” (2015) and director of the award-winning mockumentary “CSA: The Confederate States of America” (2004) releases “Destination: Planet Negro!” in June from Candy Factory Films. Willmott wrote, directed and stars in this combination spoof and satire on race and American society, which also stars Trai Byers (Andre Lyons in “Empire”) and Wes Studi (Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” and “Avatar”). Winner of a Special Jury Prize at Dallas Videofest, “Destination: Planet Negro!” is now available through Amazon Prime. “CSA” is on Hulu.

A satirical comedy, “Destination: Planet Negro!” opens in the year 1939 when lynching and other forms of racial terror prompt black leaders W.E.B. DuBois and George Washington Carver to effect a unique and enterprising migration: they devise a utopian plan to leave Earth and colonize Mars. The Planet Negro think tank is reminiscent of the Federal Council on Negro Affairs, often referred to as President Roosevelt’s “Black Cabinet” – an informal but influential group of black policy advisers, which included educator Mary McLeod Bethune – except in the movie they are working directly for us. Paying homage to early sci-fi movies (and maybe side-eyeing Hollywood’s 1939 releases of “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz”?), Wilmott’s campy and comical spacecraft carries an improbable but expert crew of three that jumps into a time warp instead of heading to Mars. This twist makes it excitingly unclear who or what is the target of Willmott’s satire: is it the brave and brilliant but perhaps naïve space travelers? Is it the uninhabitable American society being left behind? Or both? Read more

 



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