Feb. 11, 2004

Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

Willmott celebrates sweet week of events including Feb. 15 showing of 'CSA'

LAWRENCE -- Kevin Willmott, assistant professor of theatre and film at the University of Kansas, is having a sweetheart of a week celebrating his film "CSA: The Confederate States of America."

In addition to making appearances on KCUR radio and meeting with Spike Lee, an executive producer for "CSA," in Kansas City on Wednesday, Feb. 11, Willmott learned this week that his film will be shown at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, in the Blue Note Theatre, 17 N. Ninth, in Columbia, Mo., during the True/False Film Festival.

Willmott and Matt Jacobson, cinematographer for the film and assistant professor of theatre and film at KU, had been invited to show "CSA" during Columbia's inaugural film festival months before Willmott sold his film to IFC distributors.

In January, Willmott and Jacobson sold the film during its debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Since then, Willmott said, he has been working with IFC officials to allow "CSA" to be shown at the Columbia festival this weekend.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, Willmott will appear on KCUR 's "Up to Date" with host Steve Kraske to talk about his film, the successes, the results of success at Sundance and the resulting contract with IFC. At 7 p.m., Willmott and several of his theatre and film students will attend a lecture by Spike Lee in Swinney Recreation Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 50th and Rockhill.

"CSA" is a faux documentary depicting an America in which the South won the Civil War, complete with mock commercials featuring products geared toward a society still practicing slavery. Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee agreed to be an executive producer for the film just as Willmott was preparing to take the film and many of his cast and crew to the Sundance Film Festival.

As part of the True/False Film Festival, Willmott also will speak on a panel, "Pranks, Propaganda and Social Change," at noon Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Cherry St. Artisan Theater, Ninth and Cherry in Columbia. The panel will include moderator Dara Greenwald (Video Data Bank, The Pink Bloque), Mark Hosler (Negativland) and Scott Beiben (Lost Film Festival), as well as directors Sarah Price (The Yes Men) and Mark Achbar (The Corporation).

Finally, when Willmott opened this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly, he read a glowing mini-review of "CSA" by Owen Gleiberman. The film reviewer described "CSA" as a "mind-bending historical parody that imagines a world in which the Confederacy won the Civil War and slavery was never abolished. Done in a mock-doc version of the Ken Burns style, 'CSA' isn't pious; it's scandalous, fearless and hilarious -- a satire that overlaps with our own world in juicy and unsettling ways, undoing reality and embracing it at the same time."

Willmott is adding the review to other coverage of the film since its appearance at Sundance, including the London Guardian's note that "The provocative 'CSA: The Confederate States of America' is an odd hybrid, a sci-fi mockumentary that poses as a BBC (renamed BBS) production from an alternate universe. Film-maker Kevin Willmott takes a simple, daring conceit and pushes it to the max."

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