2014, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A.
Audience Award: Best of NEXT
Bambi wants to publish his credos and chronicles and start his career the way any other normal young writer would. For Bambi, however, normal is the quandary. “Normal” means returning to Watts, Los Angeles, after a 28-month jail stint to find his young son playing next to his strung-out grandmother. It’s normal for the patriarch of his family to offer Bambi pills, guns, and a drug-running job as a way to welcome him home. A normal visit from his cousin involves Bambi and son performing minor surgery to extract a bullet from his arm. Bambi meets this surreal, ghetto normal with equanimity, but he knows life can’t be “normal” like this for long.
Malik Vitthal’s radiant debut feature leavens hardcore gangster life with a warm and earnest humanity. Featuring a breakout performance by John Boyega as Bambi and an inspired rhythmic score by composer Flying Lotus, Imperial Dreams ignites a passion for redemption that transcends circumstance.
Director: Malik Vitthal
Screenwriters: Malik Vitthal, Ismet Prcic
Producers: Jonathan Schwartz, Andrea Sperling, Katherine Fairfax Wright
Executive Producers: Zygi Wilf, Audrey Wilf
Cinematographer: Monika Lenczewska
Editor: Suzanne Spangler
Co-producer: Bobby Yay Yay Jones
Composer: Flying Lotus
Principal Cast: John Boyega, Rotimi Akinosho, Glenn Plummer, Keke Palmer, De'Aundre Bonds