CSA: The Confederate States of America

Director: Kevin Willmott
Screenwriters: Kevin Willmott

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


If you're going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh; otherwise they'll kill you.
—George Bernard Shaw

An audacious, frighteningly resonant faux documentary, CSA: The Confederate States of America asks what American culture would look like if the South had won the Civil War. Venturing a glimpse at such a world, it simulates the experience of watching a TV special, complete with racist commercials and newsbreaks.

The special itself, a slick Ken Burns-style piece, details the "grand" history of the Confederate nation as it fights to preserve its antebellum way of life. After triumphing at Gettysburg, the South sends Lincoln packing to Canada and gets cozy in the White House. The long-term result? Chattel slavery of all non-Aryans; all-out conquest and apartheid in Latin America; an alliance with Hitler, a Cold War with Canada; a slave shopping network on TV and the Internet.

A thoroughly researched and phenomenally well-executed satire which fastidiously hybridizes factual and fictional elements, CSA's bold, unbridled offensiveness is certain to elicit uncomfortable laughter. Its power lies in its proximity to the truth and its creepily familiar rhetoric. As Trent Lott defends "states' rights," black men pack the prisons, and euphemisms continue to mask hatred and misunderstanding, CSA is a parody that painfully but humorously hits close to home.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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