April 17th, 2017
We are ecstatic that our film won the Roots Award for Best Documentary at the 15th Annual Oakland International Film Festival in Oakland, CA on April 8!
The award was presented by Louis Gossett Jr., distinguished actor and member of the original cast of the TV series ROOTS, during an evening that showcased a discussion about the original and recent Roots series' and their importance today more than ever.
The Festival was a wonderful opportunity to screen films, meet other filmmakers and visit Oakland, which is a very cool place! Our film was the centerpiece of an evening at Holy Names University, where our photo exhibit was featured. Iya Wanda Blake, Oakland-based priestess of Yemaya, joined us in a panel discussion, along with filmmaker Eve A. Ma, whose short film "Masters of Rhythm" about Afro-Peruvian percussion screened prior to ours. Professor Chiho Sawada invited Gerald Hoffman and I to speak to students about our film and photography the following day. Iya Wanda was a lead sponsor of our screening, along with Barry Pierce, Paul Kumar, the Oakland Film Society, and the Asia Pacific Peace Studies Institute of Holy Names University.
The morning of the Roots discussion and Awards, Iya Wanda fulfilled my wish to take flowers to the sea. After a quick tour of San Francisco, Wanda took us to Baker Beach by the Golden Gate Bridge where we offered flowers to Yemanjá. We thanked her for the many blessings of our lives and this work with the film, while asking for continued guidance. Then she fed us a delicious homemade gumbo. What loving care we received! Axé! Ashé! Ase!
Donna Roberts, Producer/director, Yemanjá