Kevin Willmott Explains How to Get to Hollywood from Kansas

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is hoping to spark interest in filmmaking, especially among local teens, with its upcoming program “Off Screen:  A Conversation with Director Kevin Willmott” Oct. 23 from 3-5pm, Marvin Auditorium.

Join us as Kevin weaves film clips and other media together to tell the story of his journey from small-town Kansas to Hollywood – working with Oliver Stone, Whoopie Goldberg, Spike Lee, Martin Sheen, Isaac Hayes, NBC, CBS and 20th Century Fox.

Kevin will tell you what he did right – and what he did wrong – along the way and what he’s learned on his movie-making journey. He’ll also share his personal passion for community filmmaking. He’s aiming his talk at 12 to 18 year olds, but all are welcome to attend.

Kevin’s film credits range from a film about his hometown to a faux documentary based on if the South had won the Civil War. His films include Ninth Street, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, The Only Good Indian, and Bunker Hill.  His films tackle difficult and serious – often divisive – subjects with humor and great storytelling. Some of his films have been selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

Kevin grew up in Junction City wanting to make films. He attended Marymount College (Salina, KS), receiving his BA in drama. Kevin returned home to work as a peace and civil rights activist, before heading off to New York to earn his MFA in dramatic writing.

Learn how he sells his films, how he works with Hollywood while still remaining in Kansas where he teaches Film Studies at the University of Kansas and how he remains an independent filmmaker during an era of mega-budget, special-effects laden commercial movies.

Kevin’s presentation will encourage audience questions, interaction and engagement.  This year’s Hirschberg Lecture is designed to start our “community conversation,” which it is hoped will carry over into future multi-generational discussions.

In 2010 Kevin was selected to receive a Kansas Governor’s Arts Award and was recognized at a ceremony in Topeka. His films have been distributed worldwide and many are available on DVD and Netflix.

This program is made possible by generous donors to the Jeanne and Cotter Hirschberg Lecture Series.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is 21st-century, four-star rated landmark library, and features the Alice C. Sabatini Art Gallery, the Millennium Café, the Chandler Booktique Gift Shop, meeting rooms, and free computer and Internet access and training.

Library hours are Mon. through Fri. 9 am to 9 pm, Sat. 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday 12 pm to 9 pm.


Lisa is a former employee and shared the library story in many of her posts.