Race, Social Classes, Social Sciences -- Research, Social Justice, Anti-racism
The George Bernard Shaw quotation in the epigraph is both a charge and a warning. Truth is a bitter pill best taken with syrup. Failure to comply could result in the truth-teller’s figurative death. In the case of the black filmmaker, that death looks like empty theater seats. It is a film with no audience, no home. The Shaw quote opens Kevin Willmott’s 2004 film C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America. The film is a mockumentary about what the United States would have become had the South won the Civil War. Using satire to poke fun at a seemingly ludicrous alternative history, C.S.A. eerily resembles a very tangible present. Amid a chorus of honeyed voices hanging on to claims about America’s postracial moment, C.S.A. is an acerbic reminder that there is still a lot of work to do.
This interview with writer, director, and professor Kevin Willmott took place at the end of August 2013. It highlights the critical roles that race and satire play in two of his films: the aforementioned C.S.A. and Destination: Planet Negro (2013). Both films work to critically inform how we think about race, history, and (cinematic) freedom. In addition to discussing his artistic beginnings, this interview also weaves connections between black cinematic representation and American cultural attitudes about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. The conversation concludes with Willmott talking about his dual role as both a director and a college professor.
Carter, D. (2015). Playing with History: A Black Camera Interview with Kevin Willmott. Black Camera, 6(2), 42-51. doi:10.2979/blackcamera.6.2.42