PAFF 2015 Film Review: From Watts to Senegal

10945879_780529775333712_2882125454290520797_o One of the many docs I screened over the weekend at PAFF which made a lasting impact on me was the documentary -  From Watts to Senegal, a film that documents  children from the Imperial Courts Projects in  South Los Angeles and their journey to Senegal courtesy of the Foundation for Second Chances Foundation. The most important lesson learned according to one of the kids was" grateful for what you have - it could be worse."

Upon landing in Africa, one of the more memorable moments was their visit to the "door of no return", where many slaves passed right into slavery and away from their native land.  The guides shared that in Africa, "...the masters would say that black people have no souls".

Knowing that learning is considered a privilege for children of Africa,  the kids painted a newly constructed library and donated books.

A moment that struck me so  hard is how a young spirit takes in such an extraordinary experience.  When one child was asked what do they expect to see in Africa...they simply stated, "I expect to see me -every day of my life"

Check out this trailer and for more information on the Foundation for Second Chances -  go to



Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!



Could you imagine living in a world where you had to use separate entrances on public transportation, restrooms, dining establishments (if they would serve people of color at all), restrooms and drinking fountains?

Summer of 1963 in  Opelika, Alabama...this was just an ordinary day.  Just as it was in many states across America.  On a normally hot day, Michael and his little white friend drink from a water fountain.  After watching his friend drink for what he deemed an unusually long time, Michael thought the water must taste different on the "white only" side.

This TV One film (which aired on February 7th) starring Lorenz Tate and Sharon Leal is the true story of a seven-year-old black boy (played by twins Amir and Amari O’Neil) who becomes obsessed with the desire to taste water from the “whites only” drinking fountain.

The dialogue is riddled with sayings I have heard my whole life such as, "Never know what day is your last so eat dessert first", "Never tell anybody your dreams...they'll just tell you why they can't come true" and so many more that I was truly tickled to be reminded of my childhood in St. Louis, Missouri.

Michael adventures to drink from the fountain (despite warnings from his family and friends), takes him on a journey where he stumbles upon a KKK meeting, juke joint and arrest by the local police.  He finally gets his chance when it comes to his attention the the "whites only" water and the "colored only" water come from the same pipe.

Just goes to show you how innocent and overworked a young mind can be.  Shown during the Shorts Series at the Pan African Film Festival, "White Water" is produced by Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, screenplay by Michael C. Brandy/Eric Stein and Directed by Rusty Cundieff.  It was truly pleasurable to watch and after a brief Q&A, the audience was treated to a "white water" rap by the twins who portrayed Michael.  Check out the trailer and rap below...