Los Angeles Film Festival 2016: The House on Coco Road

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Let's rewind just a tad.  Back in America, Fannie Haughton was a UCLA student who had befriended a young, innovative professor.  A professor who was about to become a fugitive and on the FBI's Most Wanted List whose name was Angela Davis.  After witnessing such injustices and watching yet another group of young people...people of color be jailed and murdered as part of the Black Panther movement and Reagan's war on drugs.  Haughton, scooped up her boys and moved to Granada, which in comparison seemed like paradise.

In 1979, the people of Grenada carried out the first successful  Revolution in the English speaking Caribbean culminating in Maurice Bishop becoming Prime Minister. Meet Fannie Haughton.

In 1982 Angela Davis, her family, and Haughton visited Grenada to witness the Peoples’ Revolution. In 1983 two events pop off.  Fannie is offered a position in the Ministry of Education. While she scoops up her kids, leaves Oakland and moves to Grenada,  America led a military invasion following the assassination of Grenadian Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop.

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Hiding under the bed for three days as bombs shook the island, Fannie and her kids lives were changed forever. Nearly sixteen years later Fannie's son Damani Baker returned to Grenada  and began shooting a documentary, searching for a story that felt untold and unfinished.

Little did she and the boys know that less than a year later, she and her family would be hiding under a bed from the very same government she left in America.  Their existence in paradise would be over.

After discovering some family super 8 footage of his grandmother in rural Louisiana on the land their family sharecropped, Baker began to unravel his mother’s path to activism. During this process,  Damani began to understand why his Mom and her friends put their lives on the line in order to build a better world. You may not know their names, but they have changed the course of history. 

With so many historical stories in the forefront, the black lives matter movement, #oscarsowhite and Donald J. Trump threatening  to build a wall for illegal immigrants...The House on CoCo Road is right on time.

It's fascinating how politicians twist the facts for their own agendas without any regard for the lives their decisions will affect. Fortunately, for Haughton, Davis, Baker and so many others have been able to move forward and this chapter of their life is now a footnote.  However, Damani has has blown the lid off of the Reagan administration' ulterior motives while carefully crafting this shocking, yet compelling story.

Nowadays, Angela Davis still speaks out on injustice, but does so from her classroom at the University of California in Santa Cruz in the Feminist Studies Department.  Damani's Mom, Fannie Haughton, has a doctorate and continues to be an educator.

The House on Coco Road premieres on June 2nd at the Los Angeles Film Festival which runs from June 1  9.

https://vimeo.com/119729008