KU professor’s collaboration with Spike Lee, ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ receives coveted Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival

Kevin Willmott’s latest project has earned the Lawrence filmmaker and University of Kansas professor the coveted Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Willmott co-wrote the Spike Lee-directed “BlacKkKlansman,” which on Saturday was awarded the Grand Prix, considered the second-most prestigious prize at Cannes after the Palme d’Or.

The film tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first black police officer in Colorado Springs, Colo., and his successful infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan in 1979. “BlacKkKlansman” is based on Stallworth’s 2014 memoir, “Black Klansman.”

Willmott, a professor of film and media studies at KU, also collaborated with the “Do the Right Thing” director in co-writing Lee’s 2015 satire “Chi-Raq.”

“BlacKkKlansman” is set to open in the U.S. this August. The official premiere date is Aug. 10, the anniversary of last year’s violent neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Va.


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