Contact

Megan Schmidt
KU News Service
785-864-8853

Willmott "Destination: Planet Negro!" screening set for Feb. 16

Thu, 02/14/2013

LAWRENCE — In the face of Jim Crow-era violence and intimidation, many African-Americans living in southern states headed to northern cities, hoping to find new homes free from oppression.

In the new film directed by KU film professor Kevin Willmott, “Destination: Planet Negro!,” they leave Earth entirely.

The first screening of “Destination: Planet Negro!” will be 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St. Tickets are $7 for the public and free for film cast and crew members.  

Willmott’s latest project centers on a group of African-Americans living in the Jim Crow era who devise a plan to travel to and populate the planet Mars.

“The idea of African-Americans trying to find a new homeland has been a big discussion in history,” Willmott said. “For example, there was talk of turning the state of Oklahoma into a black state at one point.”

In “Destination: Planet Negro!” the three-person crew of African-Americans rocketing off to Mars is “taking that concept to the next level,” said Willmott, adding that the film is a comedy/satire.

Willmott is an accomplished screenwriter and director whose prior works include  “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” about how U.S. history could have played out, had the South won the Civil War, as well as “The Only Good Indian,” the story of a Native American boy forced to assimilate into white culture. Both films were screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Saturday’s “Destination: Planet Negro!” screening is a fundraiser for the construction of a new building for the Department of Film & Media Studies, Willmott said.

“It’s a great film to see during Black History Month, because it shows how far African-Americans have come, but also how far we need to go,” he said.

It stars KU graduates Tosin Morohunfola and Danielle Cooper, as well as Willmott.

A question-and-answer session with Willmott will follow the screening.

The film is not scheduled for any other screenings yet, but Willmott is working to get “Destination Planet Negro!” shown during upcoming film festivals in New York and California.



Tears. Smiles. And hugs. That’s what Match Day brought as KU Medical Center’s first Salina class learned where they would go for their residencies — the next step in their medical training. See the Salina Journal’s report and photos: http://bit.ly/1HtAWbW Tags: #KUworks #KUmatch #Match2015 University of Kansas Medical Center Salina Journal KU School of Medicine-Wichita

Get outside & #exploreKU like these KU students who are making the most of the beautiful day. (Image via @Jhawk96 .) http://t.co/7dDhQqMuQz
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times