This special edition of KC Film Spotlight brings members of the Kansas City film industry together to honor our friend Rick Cowan, a pillar in our industry, who passed away suddenly August 8, 2016. Some of us knew Rick for decades, some of us met him this year – no matter how long you knew him, you felt like you “knew him.” The City of Kansas City proclaimed the date of his “Final Wrap Party,” August 17, 2016 forevermore “Rick Cowan Day.”
Production is like a big puzzle, some times you can find all the right pieces, other times you need help because one piece has fallen on the floor and is under the table. Rick and I helped each other find the missing pieces no matter who’s job it was. – K. Krieger
The people we visited with are directors, producers, production managers, art directors, and location scouts who worked alongside Rick Cowan for years. You may have your own memories to share – feel free to include those as a comment.
Jim Wheeler – I met Rick about 20 years ago.
Abby Dix – I am trying to pinpoint the year I met Rick, which escapes me, but it was long ago.
Kathy Krieger – 30+ years. God, where does the time go?
Brad Slaughter – I’ve known Rick for 22 years
Bryan Mangan – I have known Rick for 30 years.
Melissa Willis – Ummm I don’t know…..I met him on “Ninth Street..” I was PA. The movie was released in 1999 but as with independent film it took years to complete and release. I’m sure the shoot I was on was around 1995? It was the club shoot in downtown KC. The day was dedicated to the amazingly long and beautiful steadicam shot of the entire club starting at the front door. Continue reading
Each month we connect with an influential professional in the industry. This month our Spotlight is on Kevin Willmott -screenwriter, director, producer, actor and professor.
To have one of your film heroes say that about your work is about as good as it gets.
Kevin Willmott grew up in Kansas and attended college to study Drama at Marymount University in Salina. His work as a peace and civil rights activist after college resounds in his filmography. After Marymount he created two shelters for the homeless and fought for integration within several long-standing segregated institutions. Later he went on to the graduate program at the prestigious NYU, Tisch School of the Arts where he won several writing awards and earned an MFA in Dramatic Writing.
Although I didn’t have Willmott as a professor at KU, I did have the great pleasure of working as a camera assistant/loader for a 2nd unit team in 1999 on his critically acclaimed feature film, “C.S.A.: Confederate States of America” (2004). The film explores what America might be like had the Civil War been won by the South. “C.S.A.”, as well as “The Only Good Indian” (2009) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and represent only a few of his many professional credits.
Willmott’s numerous credits range from actor (11 credits), writer (8 credits), producer (9 credits) and director (8 credits). [Source IMDB]
As a professor Willmott inspires students by example – by creating consistently, working hard and having the determination to make films he believes in that often take years to enter into production. Our intern, Rachel Kephart, a former student of Willmott says, “he’s very present as a professor and teaches from a real knowledge of filmmaking from idea to distribution without pretension.”
We are grateful that he shared some of his experiences and photos with us, even with an incredibly busy schedule.
KCFMO: What were you doing before you came to University of Kansas to teach?