Last night I was privileged to see a special screening of the film “Imperial Dreams,” hosted by the San Diego Foundation at the Illumina Theater in Torrey Pines. Based on a true story, the film documents the journey of Bambi, a twenty-one-year-old African American man, who has just been released from prison, and his daily struggle to build a new life for himself and his five-year-old son. Without any financial resources or place to live, Bambi is forced to return to his family in the hood, where he is surrounded by drug dealing and violent gang activity. Determined to be free of a life of crime, Bambi tries to do everything right, but runs into barriers at every turn.

The film vividly brings to light the challenges formerly incarcerated individuals face and the broken systems desperately in need of change. The story is truly heartbreaking in parts, but also inspiring in the love Bambi has for his young son and the hope he refuses to let die.

Writer-director Malik Vitthal spoke after the film and told how he met “Bobby” in Watts five years ago and how Bobby entered the criminal justice system at age fourteen. Malik was inspired to tell his story and was especially moved by the love that Bobby had for his family, a love that had to be lived in the moment because of the uncertainty of life the next day.  Malik says, “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. 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 film won the Sundance Best of NEXT Audience Award and stars John Boyega, who was cast in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” shortly after appearing in Imperial Dreams.

A special thank you to the San Diego Foundation for providing this exceptional event. The foundation is seeking to shed light on recidivism rates and ways to improve the criminal justice system.

I highly recommend this film! It will touch your heart!!!

To see more about Imperial Dreams, please go to their Facebook page:

Aleida with writer and director Malik Vitthal


About Aleida K. Wahn, Esq.

I am an attorney, award-winning true crime writer, and legal analyst of criminal cases. I cover criminal trials and write stories and books about compelling, gripping, and unforgettable cases that impact our world. I take you into the courtroom in high-profile murder trials, rape cases, crimes of passion, cases involving mental illness, deviant behavior, and more. I have a deep passion for true crime, criminal law, and all aspects of the criminal justice system. I have appeared as an expert on true crime shows, including “48 Hours,” “Snapped,” and “The Dead Files,” and provided legal analysis on high-profile criminal trials on Court TV, the Law & Crime Trial Network, Fox 5 News, ABC 10 News, and KUSI News. I also create and host shows with the Del Mar Television Producers Group, addressing criminal justice and social issues in recent criminal trials.

I provided my insight and legal analysis on Court TV and the Law & Crime Trial Network of the high-profile trial of former NFL star Kellen Winslow Jr. It was a trial that captured the nation as the heralded ex-football star with fame, fortune, and a famous name stood accused of multiple rapes and other sex crimes involving five women. As the trial delved into shocking facts, complicated legal issues, and unexpected twists and turns, I was there for every minute. After the trial, I wrote a book on the case, going behind the headlines to share the extraordinary details of what happened inside the courtroom. Judging Winslow Jr.: From NFL Star to Serial Rapist? Inside the Shocking Rape Trial of Kellen Boswell Winslow II is now available on Amazon.

I am passionate about telling true crime stories, as these penetrating stories have the power to move us all, while highlighting societal issues which need to be addressed. I have personally seen the human devastation which is present in each trial and believe there is a lesson to be learned in every single case. It is through awareness and examining critical issues society can effect change and even make new laws. To learn more, please visit:

Read about the gripping and unforgettable trials that I have covered in my latest books: