Ninth Street

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Ninth Street
Ninth Street FilmPoster.jpeg
Theatrical poster
Directed byTim Rebman
Written byKevin Willmott
Produced byKevin Willmott
StarringDon Washington
Kevin Willmott
CinematographyTroy Paddock
Edited byMike Brandt
Music byKriss Avery
Distributed byIdeal Enterprises
Release date
  • 1999 (1999)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States

Ninth Street is a 1999 black-and-white drama, written by Kevin Willmott.

Filmed in the United States, the movie was primarily released in English.


Set in 1968 Junction City, Kansas sometimes called "Junk Town" reflect on the history of "East Ninth Street" during the 1940s when famous jazz musicians played the nightclubs. In 1968, the area has deteriorated into strip clubs and cheap bars where Vietnam War draftees from nearby Fort Riley stop and drink. People in the group include a drunk (Don Washington) who lost a leg in World War II, a taxi dispatcher (Isaac Hayes), a saloon owner (Queen Bey), and a crazy bag lady (Kaycee Moore). (Nadine Griffith) who is trying to get out of the business, but is forced to work by a malicious boy friend (Byron Myrick) and the fact that she has to provide for her baby (Meagan Cordero). Martin Sheen also stars as a white preacher who likes the people in the area better than his own congregation.



Production on Ninth Street took five to ten years to complete.[1][2] Wilmott began writing the script as a class assignment for film school; he drew upon stories his parents and their friends told him about Ninth Street in Junction City, Kansas and wrote the script as a stage play.[3] Wilmott had initially approached several venues in Hollywood to make the film but was turned away. He ended up making the film in Kansas City, Kansas after returning to the city and achieving some success there.[4] Isaac Hayes and Martin Sheen were confirmed as performing in the film; Ninth Street also marked the last film role of Kaycee Moore.[5]


Ninth Street premiered on June 5, 1998 at the Gem Theater in Kansas City, Missouri.[2] The film was given a screening at the Beach Museum of Art in 2005 as part of Kansas State University's Fusion Week: A Prairie View.[6]


Variety reviewed the film, calling it "an earnest effort that's compromised by inexperienced direction and nonexistent production values."[7] Thomas Fox Averill covered Ninth Street for the Center of Kansas Studies at Washburn University, noting that it "resonates with the transitions faced by many Kansas communities. "[8] In an interview with Wilmott, Jeff Loeb stated that "Through the film Willmott advocates a return to a sense of selfhelp and mutual dependency necessary to the salvation of the black community, a somewhat more conservative message than is normally seen in contemporary African American films. "[9]

The reviewer for Video Business rated the movie favorably, citing it as a "richly textured recreation of Junction City in the late '60s".[10]


  1. ^ "'Ninth Street' Debut". The Kansas City Star ( May 31, 1998.
  2. ^ a b Butler, Robert (June 5, 1998). "'Ninth Street' is a compelling place to visit". The Kansas City Star (
  3. ^ "A Directed Director". The Salina Journal ( August 7, 1998.
  4. ^ De Witt Douglas Kilgore (2016). "On Practicing an Independent African American Cinema: An Interview with Kevin Willmott". Black Camera. 8 (1): 95–123. doi:10.2979/blackcamera.8.1.0095. JSTOR 10.2979/blackcamera.8.1.0095. S2CID 164284290.
  5. ^ "Kaycee Moore, who starred in landmark Black independent films, dies at 77". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  6. ^ "Kansas State University: Art Department to focus on Kansas artists and designers during Fusion Week". Presswire. February 3, 2005. ProQuest 443682384.
  7. ^ Harvey, Dennis (1999-01-19). "Ninth Street". Variety. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  8. ^ Fox Averill, Thomas. "Kansas in the Movies, Ninth Street Article". Center for Kansas Studies, Washburn University. Retrieved 2022-05-16.
  9. ^ Loeb, Jeff; Willmott, Kevin (2001). "A Conversation with Kevin Willmott". African American Review. 35 (2): 249–262. doi:10.2307/2903256. ISSN 1062-4783. JSTOR 2903256.
  10. ^ Hulse, Ed (September 20, 1999). "Ninth Street (review)". Video Business (ProQuest). 19: 24. ProQuest 223917128.

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