Kevin Willmott is one of our most underrated filmmakers. Like his frequent collaborator Spike Lee, Willmott knows how to seamlessly blend history and social commentary into entertaining stories, but without taking away the commentary’s sting. BlackkKlansman (which he co-wrote) rightfully received a ton of accolades last year, his C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America remains a mockumentary classic, and Bunker Hill is a poignant alt-history/character study.
So I’m jazzed to hear he’s already underway in directing his next film, The 24th, which will chronicle the Houston riot of 1917 and its subsequent murder trial, one of the largest to ever happen in U.S. history. The riot stemmed from a clash between white Houston police officers and the all-black Twenty-fourth infantry which had recently been stationed in segregated Texas. The riot cost the lives of 5 police officers, 9 civilians and 4 soldiers, while the court-martials resulting from it led to 19 executions of black soldiers, 41 life imprisonments, and 1 suicide.
The event is a harrowing snippet of Jim Crow history, and there are few people I would trust to handle it better than Kevin Willmott, who co-wrote the film with Trai Bryers. Bryers will also star in the film, along with Thomas Haden Church, Aja Naomi King, Mo McRae, Tosin Morohunfola, Bashir Salahuddin, and Mykelti Williamson.
No word on when it’s coming out, but seeing as how it’s already filming and I doubt this subject matter will require extensive special effects, maybe we can count on this one by awards season 2020? I really hope it’s soon, because the Trump era needs its own A Few Good Men, and I’d rather have it be this than a Robert Mueller biopic.