Ray and Pat Browne Award Honoree: Kevin Willmott

Kevin Wilmott IS THE 2022 RECIPIENT OF THE Ray and Pat Browne Award for outstanding contributions to the popular arts

Kevin Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas and received his BA in Drama from Marymount College in Salina, Kansas. After graduation, he returned home and worked as a peace and civil rights activist, fighting for the rights of the poor, creating two Catholic Worker shelters for the homeless, and forcing the integration of several long standing segregated institutions. He attended graduate studies at  New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, receiving several writing awards and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing.  He is currently a professor of Film and Media Studies at The University of Kansas.

The writer and director is known for work focusing on black issues, including writing and directing Ninth StreetC.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, and Bunker Hill.  The Only Good Indian (2009) is Wilmott’s feature film about Native American children at an Indian boarding school and the forced assimilation into White Society that takes place there.

In 2015, Willmott co-wrote  Chi-Raq with Spike Lee, with whom he also shares an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman (2019). The film is a comedic biopic that chronicles the bizarre true story of an undercover black detective who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan.  The Oscar win provoked the anger of President Trump after Lee’s acceptance speech urged the audience to “be on the right side of history” when voting in the 2020 election.

Professor Willmott’s recent project, Da 5 Bloods,  another collaborative effort with Lee, debuted in July 2020 to critical acclaim on Netflix. He is currently working on a biopic of tennis star Arthur Ashe



Further reading:

Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Kevin Willmott Talks The Hidden History & Horrors Found In ‘The 24th’ 

Kevin Willmott’s moment has arrived, thanks to Da 5 Bloods and BlacKkKlansman