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KU professor speaks out about Oscar win, growing up in Kansas

Kevin Willmott has a new title to his resume
Posted: 6:39 PM, Mar 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-04 19:39:39-05
91st Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
91st Annual Academy Awards - Show
KEVIN WILLMOTT.jpg

LAWRENCE, Kan. — He's a small town guy from Junction City, Kansas.

"I love film. I love movies. I loved them as a kid," said KU Professor Kevin Willmott.

Willmott made it his career—a screen writer, professor and now, Academy Award winner for "BlacKkKlansman".

He won Best Adapted Screenplay, a movie he wrote with Spike Lee. They met a few years ago at Sundance.

"I made a film called CSA: Confederate States of America. It went to Sundance in 2004. He heard about the film. We had the same agent at the time," said Willmott.

From there, the pair formed a friendship.

Willmott said he hopes this award helps make KU a top film school.

"I think we have had good program for a long time. I have a lot of great colleagues. We would like to be the Midwest film school. We would like to be that place you go to to be a film maker," Willmott said.

The Oscar winner returned to his students right after the awards because they are a priority to him.

"It's amazing to know that you can go to KU, that you can be in Kansas and your professor wins an Oscar," said one of Willmott's students, Brooke Ambrosio. "Of course he teaches us how to write screenplays and everything but the main thing is that if you love what you're doing, continue to do it."

You can even do it in the community you love.

"Kansas City was just always so supportive to me for what I was doing and the films I was trying to make. The fact I was able kind of stay here it's a great kind of example of doing it on your own terms," said Willmott.

He is working on another movie with Spike Lee called "Da 5 Bloods", which will star Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman.

They will start production in Thailand in a few weeks.