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Tag: BlacKkKlansman

Right Side of History Adapted Screenplay Oscars®

Right Side of History Adapted Screenplay Oscars®

Best Adapted Screenplay

BlacKkKlansman wins for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 91st Oscars. The screenplay is adapted from Ron Stallworth’s book BlacKkKlansman.

Film synopsis

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events. (IMdB)

Writers

Spike Lee is truly thrilled to win this first Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay. He states, “My grandma who saved 50 years of Social Security checks to put her first grandchild – she called me Spikie Poo – she put me through Morehouse College and NYU Grad Film. NYU!” This is a long time in coming for Spike Lee. The screenplay writers include David Rabinowitz, Charles Wachtel, and Kevin Willmott.

Willmott states, at Northern Arizona University, “Telling a character’s story you have to fictionalize the stories. Often as a writer, you do that with your own life experiences.” The story does reflect some personal experiences in his life.

Lee concludes the acceptance speech saying, “Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there!”

BlacKkKlansman Fun Facts

The film is one of only four US films to win the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival. The film receive a standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival.

John David Washington did not audition for the role. He was offered the role from Spike Lee.

The final scene is edited using hundreds of cell phone camera footage taken in Virginia.

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Photo credit The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Oscar Nominations Snubs and Surprises

Oscar Nominations Snubs and Surprises

The Oscar® nominations announced by Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani on Good Morning America. It is an entertaining announcement for the 91st Oscars.

Oscar Noms Tracee Ellis Ross Kumail Nanjiani 4choin lifestyle
Oscar® Nominations Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani

This year leading the nominations with ten each is The Favourite and Roma. The Black PantherA Star Is Born, and Vice close second with eight nominations.

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born actor, was snubbed in the Best Director category. If Beale Street Could Talk is snubbed in many film categories, but did get a nomination for Regina King’s performance as Best Actress. First Man completely eliminated for all top categories.

Black Panther is the first superhero to be nominated as Best Picture. Roma, a Foreign Film, is the biggest surprise in the nominations. This film is nominated for Best Picture and Best Foreign Film. This is a Netflix production and their first Best Film nomination. This film is also nominated for two acting categories. This includes first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio and Marina De Tavira for Best Supporting Actress. It also nominated for another Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron.

BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Cannes Red Carpet 4Chion Style
BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Film

Best Picture

BLACK PANTHER Kevin Feige, Producer
BLACKKKLANSMAN Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele, and Spike Lee, Producers.
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Graham King, Producer
THE FAVOURITE Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, and Yorgos Lanthimos, Producers.
GREEN BOOK Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, and Nick Vallelonga, Producers
ROMA Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón, Producers
A STAR IS BORN Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper, and Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers
VICE Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay, and Kevin Messick, Producers.

Actor in a Leading Role

CHRISTIAN BALE Vice
BRADLEY COOPER A Star Is Born
WILLEM DAFOE At Eternity’s Gate
RAMI MALEK Bohemian Rhapsody
VIGGO MORTENSEN Green Book

Lady Gaga A Star is Born Premiere 4Chion LIfestyle press at TIFF a
Lady Gaga A Star Is Born

Actress in a Leading Role

YALITZA APARICIO Roma
GLENN CLOSE The Wife
OLIVIA COLMAN The Favourite
LADY GAGA A Star Is Born
MELISSA MCCARTHY Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

MAHERSHALA ALI Green Book
ADAM DRIVER BlacKkKlansman
SAM ELLIOTT A Star Is Born
RICHARD E. GRANT Can You Ever Forgive Me?
SAM ROCKWELL Vice

Actress in a Supporting Rold

AMY ADAMS Vice
MARINA DE TAVIRA Roma
REGINA KING If Beale Street Could Talk
EMMA STONE The Favourite
RACHEL WEISZ The Favourite

Animated Featured Film

INCREDIBLES 2 Brad Bird, John Walker, and Nicole Paradis Grindle
ISLE OF DOGS Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
MIRAI Mamoru Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNETRich Moore, Phil Johnston, and Clark Spencer
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller

Roma Oscar Nom 4chion lifestyle
Roma Film

Cinematography

 COLD WAR  Łukasz Żal
THE FAVOURITE Robbie Ryan
NEVER LOOK AWAY Caleb Deschanel
ROMA Alfonso Cuarón
A STAR IS BORN Matthew Libatique

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • A Star Is Born

Costume Design

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGSMary Zophres
BLACK PANTHERRuth Carter
THE FAVOURITE Sandy Powell
MARY POPPINS RETURNS Sandy Powell
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS Alexandra Byrne

The 91st Oscars® will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST.

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Being True ~ Kevin Willmott Screenwriter

Being True ~ Kevin Willmott Screenwriter


Kevin Willmott, Oscar® winner screenwriter, brings his insight into screenwriting adaptation, being true to self, and BlacKkKlansman to the Prochnow Auditorium in Flagstaff AZ.

Kevin Willmott Blakklansman 4chion lifestyle
Kevin Willmott and Tammy Ann

Kevin Willmott Screenwriting

Willmott discusses creating stories that Stallworth tells from Willmott’s own life experience. This is one part of the screenplay he owns. He states, “Telling a character’s story you have to fictionalize the stories. Often as a writer, you do that with your own life experiences.”

His adapting from the book he takes as much as he can from the source. A screenwriter’s job is to create a movie. Willmott tries to remain as loyal to the book as possible. He tries to connect to the spirit of the story when writing the film. The addition of Flip Zimmerman being Jewish brings the spirit of the film. This adds to the story with the KKK suppressing and victimizing not only African Americans but also others.

Willmott takes a lot of his writing to the awareness of human behavior. The ability to find the darkness in human behavior comes from life experience and observations. His ability to bring the real enemy provides an insight to the audience to think their own human behavior. He states, “we need to remain true to ourselves.”

Kevin Willmott Film Ending

The KKK burning cross scene was the end of the film and brought to the front that there are still issues in our country today. The addition of Charlottesville to the movie is the true events. This moment in history wrote this scene in the film of that day. They had to bring this moment to the completed film. “The characters, President Donald Trump and David Duke, wrote themselves right into the film,” he says. The narrative in this present day event fit with the completed film. The screening of the film completed with a standing ovation. 

Willmott takes time after the film to discuss the screenwriting, production, and how he has fought against racism his entire life.  “America First” is a Nazi slogan from the 1930s used in this country at rallies across the US. “Make America Great Again” is from the 1970s. David Duke started this propaganda on the Donahue show. They did not have to reach to tie the past to the current political rhetoric.  Willmott says, “The past is living in us today right now. It is what is making it a dangerous time.”

Kevin Willmott Twoness

The main theme of the film as well as life in America is twoness. That happens to anyone who has to deal with a majority that does not understand who you are. Willmott explains, “that the film has 2 Ron Stallworths in the film. The real Ron Stallworth faces being black and blue. The other being white and being Jewish. Throughout the film, there is often twoness with Ron Stallworth character and life in America.

Focus Features BLACKkKLANSMAN Los Angeles Premiere, Los Angeles, CA, USA - 8 August 2018
Kevin Willmott, Writer

Kevin Willmott Racism

The language in the film and racism is something that Spike Lee, director, and Willmott decided to not apologize for it, didn’t tone it down, didn’t make it palpable, didn’t make it better than it is, and show it for everything it is. This creates the absurdity that makes the humor and lets the audience deal with uncomfortable feelings.

Harry Belafonte’s scene runs between the KKK initiation scenes. This is a powerful moment in the film that takes me to something I learned as a young child. Not everyone sees the world or people the same. There are times in our life that we are asked to stop and think about our own stance and view. The value of finding your own voice to stand and speaking up is important. Willmott explains, “it is not always easy to do this but you teach those around you that it is wrong.”

Willmott brings a strong statement to the audience when discussing racism. He says, “We would like to believe that they are a different creature than we are. In reality they look like everyday folks like we are.” The ability for the screenwriting to portray this in film brings the darkness of racism.

He greatest message is that we need to understand what I means to be American, our complex history, and living in American. We need to understand more about each other and eliminate the ignorance. 

Kevin Willmott Side Note

David Duke did call Ron Stallworth when the film finished. He asked, “How am I portrayed in the film?” 

This is a film that brings the circle of life in America clearly. We have times in this country where we are good and flowing forward and then step back in time. Traveling the US this past year I often stopped at many locations for Underground Railroad. The feeling standing where thousands risked their lives to be understood by the majority is a true insight into the human spirit. We need to eliminate the ignorance and misgivings by standing true.

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Right Side of History ‘BlacKkKlansman’

Right Side of History ‘BlacKkKlansman’

BlacKkKlansman is a film that is on the right side of history. The film debuted at Cannes De Festival to an 8-minute standing ovation and one of four American films to win the Grand Prix Award. This Spike Lee film brings the present day events to their historical ties with this film of Ron Stallworth’s real-life story.

BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Cannes Red Carpet 4Chion Style
BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Film

Film Synopsis:

Director Spike Lee presents BlacKkKlansman, an incendiary film inspired by the life of Ron Stallworth, the first police officer African-American to have infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Against all odds, the agent Stallworth (John David Washington) and his partner (Adam Driver) Flip Zimmerman will infiltrate the highest echelons of the Klan, to stop him from taking control of the city.

Actors at Festival De Cannes:

  • Spike Lee ~ Director/Writer
  • Adam Driver ~ Flip Zimmerman
  • Topher Grace ~ David Duke
  • Laura Harrier ~ Patrice
  • John David Washington ~ Ron Stallworth

BlacKkKlansman Current History

Spike Lee discusses how surreal the tragedy of Heather Higher being murdered at Charlottesville Virginia protests brings coda to this film. Her death took place after filming completion. Lee put it in the film to see what happened. When he saw what happened he knew this was the final scene.

He states, “I had to do something first. I was given Susan Bro’s, Higher’s mother, phone number. I was not going to put that murder scene in that film without her blessing. Mrs. Bro said, ‘Spike I give you permission to put that in.'” Willmott states, “It was a beautiful sacrifice she made.  They collected footage and photos from those at the time of Higher’s murder to get the best coverage of this horrific unnecessary murder. Higher should be alive today. The President of the United States could not stand up to the world to say we are about love, not about hate, we are better than murdering a young woman.

Lee goes on to speak about the building of the United States of America (USA) from the genocide of Native Americans and slavery. This is the fabric of the USA. This scene had to go in to show that our leaders are giving us a direction that is not moral. This is a worldwide problem. It is not a black, brown, and white world. We all live on this planet. We have to stand up and stop being silent.

BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Cannes Red Carpet 4Chion Style b BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Cannes Red Carpet

BlacKkKlansman Screenplay

Jordan Peele, the film’s producer, pitched the story of Ron Stallworth. Lee thought it was a comedy skit. When he realized it was a true story he brought Kevin Willmott in to assist with writing the screenplay. There was one thing that Lee understood in making the film it had to tie to the current climate. The situations today did not just pop up but they have been around for decades.

The focus of the story was to tell this period piece while connecting to the present day. The movie needed to end in the present day. Lee says, “I did not have the crystal ball, even though my friends call me negrodamus {sic}. The film’s ending was not written it was true life. Lee continues with Spike Lee joiners you got to flow, cannot be rigid, got to be hip, on it. There is no way in the world he could not make that the end of the film. The screenplay is based on the book by Stallworth, Black Klansman. 

Chaz Ebert asks about the language in the film and if it is necessary to use the tone and word choice.  Lee answers “words are hateful. Words can be hateful and I do not think I was elaborating on how the Klan not only hates blacks they hate Jews, they are number two on the list. They do not speak lovely terms and those words are harmful. The way we had them speaking in the film is the way they speak every day. It was my decision to hear those words. I wanted the hate to be verbalized.”

BlacKkKlansman Kevin Willmott Screenwriter

Kevin Willmott, Oscar® nominated screenwriter, brings his insight into screenwriting adaptation and BlacKkKlansman to the Prochnow Auditorium in Flagstaff AZ.

Willmott discusses creating stories that Stallworth tells from Willmott’s own life experience. This is one part of the screenplay he owns. He states, “Telling a character’s story you have to fictionalize the stories. Often as a writer, you do that with your own life experiences.”

His adapts from the book as much as he can from the source. Screenwriters job is to create a movie. Willmott tries to remain as loyal to the book as possible. He tries to connect to the spirit of the story when writing the film. The addition of Flip Zimmerman being Jewish brings the spirit of the film. This adds to the story with the KKK suppressing and victimizing not only African Americans but other groups.

Willmott takes time after the film to discuss the screenwriting, production, and how he has fought against racism his entire life.  “America First” is a Nazi slogan from the 1930s used in this country at rallies across the US. “Make America Great Again” is from the 1970s. David Duke started this propaganda on the Donahue show. They did not have to reach to tie the past to the current political rhetoric.  Willmott says, “The past is living in us today right now. It is what is making it a dangerous time.”

David Duke did call Ron Stallworth when the film finished. He asked, “How am I portrayed in the film?”

BlacKkKlansman Cast and Crew

Lee states, “This is very simple we tell the story.  That is what we do. I do not do this shit alone. I am a general manager of a sport’s team. Put the best players out there. Filmmaking is a collaborating effort.  It is some hard shit. Filmmaking is hard shit. You got to go to work. Learn your craft and do your research.” You want to put the best people behind the camera to make the best film you can.

Barry Alexander Brown, a film editor,  is able to create the final scene from footage taken from people’s phone. He was able to prove the needless death of Higher and that she should be alive now.

Chayse Irvin, the cinematographer, is amazing. He shot this on film, not digital. We really wanted to have the look of seventies films split screens. I forgot shooting with film takes a lot of time because it has been so long since working with film.

John David Washington (son of Denzel Washington) plays Ron Stallworth in the movie.  Washington was able to learn from Stallworth about what he was going through he is like the Jackie Robinson of police. It took a lot to get the position in the police department.  While Stallworth was protecting and servicing Colorado Springs, he prevented terrorist violence. There were no violent acts during this time on the police force. One black man, that is very well supported.

He wanted to inhabit his spirit. Setting up the environment was a great collaborating environment. Your abilities become unlimited in this environment. He felt very blessed to have this experience glad to be a part of this experience.

Adam Drive, his character Flip Zimmerman, we had a week or two to talk about it before. The research helps but you have to let that go when you get on set. Pay attention to what is being said by you and cast. Playing music on my iPod assisted. Spike creates an environment where the best ideas win, a very egoless set. Everyone had a life outside the filming and we got home at a decent hour. Spike sets the tone that it is easy that you feel free to fail.

Topher Grace, his character is David Duke, KKK Grand Wizard put in a lot of time for his part.  He read My Awaking by David Duke,  watched The Donahue Show when the KKK was on the show and listened to his radio show. Grace recalls being asked to play in a Lee film, “This is one of the happiest times in my life followed by one of the worst times when I realized the character I was going portray.” He felt the responsibility to get it right, but no did not feel the responsibility to Duke.

Grace capture this character through the script, it did a really good job of creating the KKK and David as a leader. Lee is a great coach. There was a day I had to something that was really evil. Spike said, “Try this a Nazi salute and said white power. I am rarely affected by filming but I was in a very bad space.” Lee assisted him by explaining that this is a message that you agree with even though you don’t agree with the character you are playing.

Laura Harrier, her character Patrice, tried to inhabit the spirit and time period. Meeting her real-life character helped her embrace the character’s life, relationships, and spirit. She watched Black Panther footage and listened to the music. Having a great team and taking Spike’s guidance.

BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Cannes Red Carpet 4Chion Style b BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee Cannes Image Credit Antonin Thuillier

BlacKkKlansman Message

Lee talks about the message as being believing in hope. Many of his films are hope like Do the Right thing is a hopeful film. He is not blind or deaf, he thinks you can be hopeful but be aware. This film will be seen around the world. This is a global problem. I do hope that other people from other countries will see that this is happening where they live. Lee says, “I have hope that this film shakes people from their slumber. This is a very important film. People are having a hard time coping. In our hearts, we know what is right and wrong. When you have wrong staring you dead in your face and mums the word, you are supporting the opposing causes. “sorting the opposing causes.”

The film will release on the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville demonstration August 10, 2018.

This is truly an incredible film one that is gut-wrenching, funny, honest, and real. It brings this issues full circle and to the present day.

This film is nominated for

Oscars®

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Film Editing
  • Music Original Score
  • Writing Adapted Screenplay

See the trailer here

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Photo Credit Cannes Film Festival

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