Celebrating Alvin Brooks’ Legacy

The premier of Oscar-winning filmmaker and KU professor Kevin Willmott’s film “The Heroic True-Life Adventures of Alvin Brooks” was a red carpet celebration.

Along with Willmott, Alvin Brooks and others made appearances at the Northland’s Screenland Armour Theatre for the film’s premiere.

Willmott’s documentary based on the life of local civil rights icon Alvin Brooks is to be showcased at the second annual Juneteenth Film Festival in North Kansas City.

Willmott, who won an Oscar for co-writing BlaKkKlansman with Spike Lee in 2019, has established himself as a filmmaker with a unique voice. The Junction City, Kansas, native and current professor at the University of Kansas often uses cinema to examine and tackle social and political issues.

Willmott is arguably one of the most important filmmakers working today. No one has captured the Black experience through cinema better. From his first film, Ninth Street and the brilliant satire C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America to the quietly powerful Jayhawker and the moving and insightful The 24th, Willmott has delivered keenly meaningful observations on race and culture.

Willmott directed and produced a documentary on the life of Brooks, a longtime local civil rights activist. The film was produced in conjunction with the Black Archives of Mid-America, which will also archive the film as official documentation on race relations in Kansas City. Getting the project financed was a total community endeavor, with donations and support coming from area business leaders, politicians and supporters.

The film is based on Brooks’ 2021 memoir Binding Us Together: A Civil Rights Activist Reflects on a Lifetime of Community and Public Service. The 92-year old has long been a stalwart of the Kansas City community. The film explores his time as a police officer, detective, mayor pro tem of Kansas City and founder of the AdHoc Group Against Crime. 

The film is an inspiring narrative that is inextricably linked to the nation’s past and present. In his book, Brooks shares engaging, funny and tragic stories about his life and his career of advocacy in Kansas City, and Willmott tells his story with insight and passion.

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