It’s called Destination
Planet Negro by writer, director and co-star Kevin Willmott (who previously made the satirical C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, and teaches filmmaking at the University
It made its premiere in February, and is continuing to travel the film festival circuit. It’s
a genuinely laugh out loud, funny, and very clever spoof that, at times, approaches
the manic heights of In Living Color
during its heyday.
The premise itself is very original: a group of
black leaders, including even W.E.B
DuBois, during the 1930’s, gather together for a secret meeting to
discuss the “Negro Problem” in America.
They decide that the only real solution is for black
people to not only leave America, but this planet altogether, and, with the
help of George Washington Carver, build
a rocket ship to take an exploratory group to Mars, to check out the possibility of
such a bold undertaking.
But as in all sci-fi movies, something goes wrong, and the
three explorers wind up in present day America, to their befuddlement (For
example in one scene, they see a black
man with sagging jeans below his posterior, and speculate that black people in
the future are so malnourished that their clothes are falling off them. And
when explained to them who President Obama
is, the shock is too great for them with one of them promptly passing out).
The first 30 minutes of the film are done in a campy 1950’s black and white sci-fi style, with appropriately cheesy music and special effects, while the scenes in present day America are
shot in color and directed in a more natural, contemporary style, which is all even more
impressive considering that, because of the film’s restrictive budget, it took
Willmont an entire year to shoot the film, filming only a few scenes at a time.
All the leads are terrific in their roles, giving the film the right
tongue in cheek comic touch – never too broad or with any self-conscious winking
at the camera.
Hopefully the film will make it to your neck of the words, or
will get a theatrical and VOD/DVD distribution deal, but it’s a truly charming and funny film that makes some genuinely real and honest observations
about the mindset and attitudes of Black Americans today.
Here’s the trailer: