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Media Advisory: Film director can comment on Confederate flag's ties to slavery

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

LAWRENCE — Kevin Willmott, director of “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” is available to talk about the film’s use of the Confederate flag as a symbolic connection to slavery.

The Confederate flag received a renewed round of scrutiny following last week’s shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, which left nine African-Americans dead. A photograph showed shooting suspect Dylann Roof holding a gun and the Confederate flag. Since then, major retailers have announced they would no longer carry merchandise with the Confederate flag, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and other lawmakers have called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state capitol.

Willmott, associate professor in film and media studies at the University of Kansas, directed and produced a 2004 mockumentary that imagined a world in which the South won the Civil War. The film, which was selected for the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, replaces the American flag with the Confederate flag, including the flag flying over the White House and the one planted on the moon.

Inspired by Ken Burns’ “The Civil War,” the film uses an alternative version of history and satire to shed light on continuing racism in America. The film counters popular culture’s tendency to celebrate the Confederacy while ignoring the traumatic legacy of slavery.

As a film writer and director, Willmott explores issues of race in America in films such as “Jayhawkers,” “Destination: Planet Negro,” “The Only Good Indian,” “Bunker Hill” and “Ninth Street. He is a co-writer on Spike Lee’s newest film, “Chiraq.”