Jayhawkers - the Movie

  • From my hometown newspaper - The Leavenworth Times (where Simien is from) - I worked at that Pharmacy they filmed at when I was 16.

    ##Battles in black and white##

    By Rimsie McConiga Posted Feb. 3, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

    Kevin Wilmott, a film writer/director and University of Kansas film professor, will draw back the curtain later this month on “Jayhawkers,” a look at KU, the city of Lawrence, 1950s America and integration through the experiences of legendary hoops coach Phog Allen and his prized player, Wilt Chamberlain.

    Wilmott, whose previous work includes “Bunker Hill” in 2008 and “The Confederate States of America” in 2004, answers a few questions for the newspaper in this latest Q5 installment, including tidbits about filming scenes from his movie in Leavenworth.

    Kevin, can you tell us about your movie “Jayhawkers,” which is slated to premier Feb. 14?

    "‘Jayhawkers’ is about Lawrence and (the University of Kansas) in the mid-1950s, when legendary coach Phog Allen recruited Wilt Chamberlain to the team.

    "Phog wanted Wilt because he was the greatest player of his time — and possibly of all time — and chancellor Franklin Murphy saw an opportunity to use Wilt’s fame and power as a tool to desegregate the town.

    “The film also includes a game that many consider to be the greatest of all time — the 1957 triple-overtime NCAA Championship game between KU and North Carolina.”

    Can you describe the scenes in which Leavenworth residents were used as extras in the film? Where were the scenes shot?

    "We shot at two Leavenworth diners, scenes that take place throughout the film. Leavenworth was really nice to us.

    “Ron Booth at The Corner Pharmacy. We used his place and the diner, Homer’s. Both had great 1950s style and decor. They made those scenes work great in the film. We were lucky to find them.”

    How did the Phog Allen, chancellor Franklin Murphy and Wilt Chamberlain dynamic help jump start integration in Lawrence, and in your view, how has the city changed the most from the 1950s to today?

    "Along with Dick Harp, Phog’s assistant who replaced him as head coach, and Phog’s son, Mitt, who was city attorney, they combined to begin the process of opening up the town.

    “Wilt would go into a restaurant or movie theater and simply sit wherever he wanted. He also brought his friends. When he left Lawrence, the town was not yet completely integrated, but those few years made a big difference.”

    Do you think there has been, or will ever be, another duo like Phog Allen and Wilt Chamberlain in college basketball?

    “Very hard to say. There won’t be another Wilt, because he was really the first huge basketball player who could bring the ball up the court, and pretty much do everything.”

    What do you hope viewers take away from seeing your film?

    "First of all, we hope they will have a great time. Along the way, they will see things about Lawrence and Kansas and 1950s America that they might not have known before.

    “The events took place 60 years ago — it seems like a long time, but it really wasn’t that long ago in the scheme of things.”

  • @RockChalkinTexas where can we see this?

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Premiere appears to be in Lawrence per the LJW. I don’t see anything about when it gets into theatres. As an indie, it may be in selected theatres based on interest. We’ll have to keep watching. Bet ESPN will mention it.

    Wilt Chamberlain film ‘Jayhawkers’ premiering Feb. 14

    By Ashleigh Tidwell January 17, 2014

    Kansas University professor and filmmaker Kevin Willmott will premiere his new film “Jayhawkers” at the Lied Center on Feb. 14.

    “Jayhawkers,” which was partially filmed in Lawrence, documents the recruitment and Kansas career of Wilt Chamberlain. It focuses on how his presence within the university’s basketball program affected race relations in Kansas and across the country during the '50s.

    Current KU forward Justin Wesley makes his debut performance in the lead role as Chamberlain.

    The film was co-written and directed by Willmott, a KU film and media studies professor, whose past films include “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” and “The Only Good Indian.”

    Showings of the film will be 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Feb. 14; 11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Feb. 15; and 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 16. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at lied.ku.edu/events or at the Lied Center Ticket Office.

    Here is a link to the first trailer:


    Here is a link to the Kickstarter site they had for raising the $$ and some pictures of Wilt with Big Seven trophy, Mass St. celebration photo from 57, 57 team, etc.


  • @RockChalkinTexas Thx! I’m anxious to see it!

  • Sounds interesting!

  • I have tickets for Sunday…after lunch downtown.

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