LAWRENCE, Kan. - The role of a controversial anti-Islam film in recent attacks in Libya continues to evolve. Reports show the film was posted months ago, but was somehow recently discovered and played on some Middle Eastern television stations.
Regardless of the role it played, local filmmaker Kevin Willmott knows the responsibility that comes with making movies.
"It is important that we understand the power of film," he said, "and the power of images to make people cry, angry, sad, violent."
Willmott himself tackles social and political topics in his own films. "C.S.A.," his film portraying the United States if the South had won the Civil War, earned a spot at the Sundance Film Festival and received critical acclaim. He also serves as an associate film professor at KU.
"I had an actor one time say, 'Hey I can't do this' and that's ok!" he laughed. "Half the fun of making movies that are about social, political ideas is that you get to have discussions on the set about them."
At least one actress in the controversial anti-Islam film has come forward with apologies to all Muslim people and said the director lied to the actors. She accused him of dubbing over lines and changing the name of the central character to Mohammed in post-production.
"If the film is dishonest, I think it could be the film's fault," said Willmott. "I have no problem not defending a filmmaker that is lying to his cast, crew, investors, producers."
Willmott is grateful but mindful of the freedoms he enjoys as a filmmaker in America.
"Other countries, they're not used to that exchange if ideas so they see images that attack them and they just feel like its a frontal assault," said Willmot. "There's a big-time responsibility that you have as a control of these images. And if you're not playing fair, you have to then take the responsibility for it."
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