February 26, 2016 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation will host an exclusive pre-release screening of Sundance Best of NEXT Audience Award winning film Imperial Dreams with writer and director Malik Vitthal on Wednesday, March 16 at 4:30pm at Farmer & The Seahorse, Illumina Theater in La Jolla.

Determined to build a new life for himself and his son, a 21-year-old man is released from prison to find the challenges nearly insurmountable. Based on a true story and starring Star Wars’ John Boyega, Imperial Dreams reveals the realities the formerly incarcerated face, including the broken systems that keep them from true freedom.

Applauded by both audiences and critics, Imperial Dreams captures these real-life struggles through heartfelt storytelling. “Vitthal’s film has the distinct fortuity to realign opinions on how artistic talent can best be nurtured and celebrated in a climate of often diminished opportunities,” said Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter.

Director Malik Vitthal will be present at the event for a director’s Q&A immediately following the screening. Vitthal was born and raised in Los Angeles, and co-wrote his feature directorial debut Imperial Dreams, which was developed at the Jerusalem International Film Lab and Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab, where it received the Time Warner Storytelling Grant and the Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship.

“This film is an intimate, visceral, authentic look into a broken home, which mirrors an entire generation – and how they patch it all back together,” explained Vitthal. “Above all, Imperial Dreams is about learning to muster the resolve to establish your own identity, and your own sphere of love, safety, and compassion even when everything around you remains in chaos.”

The event is part of The San Diego Foundation Center for Civic Engagement Future40 event series that engages leading thinkers to raise provocative questions, highlight new possibilities, and challenge our assumptions about the future of San Diego.

The San Diego Foundation is committed to supporting the most underserved in our communities to improve quality of life. One of our region’s most pressing challenges is determining how San Diego County can reduce recidivism rates and improve the criminal justice system, especially for our youth. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in 2014 63 percent of state prisoners paroled in San Diego County recidivated within three years. High re-incarceration rates impact ex-offenders fighting to break the cycle of the system and have real consequences for San Diego’s economy, draining taxpayer resources and impacting local communities.

The film will start promptly at 4:30pm, followed by a conversation with the filmmaker, and conclude with a reception. The screening is free and open to those 18 years and older. Space is limited. Register today at SDfoundation.org/events.

Vitthal and local experts are available for media interviews upon request. Photos are also available on request.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation promotes and increases effective and responsible charitable giving to grow a vibrant region. The Foundation manages more than $654 million in assets, more than half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $957 million to the San Diego region’s nonprofit community. For more information, visit our website, and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego now and forever.


Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com
Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300, justin@sdfoundation.org