Carla Berkowitz is the executive producer of the critically acclaimed film Critical Thinking, directed by and starring the Emmy-award winning actor John Leguizamo. While reading the Sunday Magazine in her hometown Miami Herald in 1997, Carla discovered a story that not only piqued her interest, but set her on a path for 20 years that she could not ever have imagined. After reading the true and compelling story of the Miami Jackson Senior High School chess team, the next morning she called the school and spoke with the chess coach. The film, sharing the story of the team and the coach, was born in that moment.
In the years that it took to bring the film to fruition, Carla had many ups and downs, setbacks, and fortune, all the while raising children, running her own business that she founded, dealing with Lupus, producing fitness videos, and finding herself as the only woman in the room when meeting with Hollywood studio executives, writers, and producers.
Carla was born in Venezuela, migrated with her family to South Florida, and her experiences being a fish-out-of-water and bullied at school helped forge her tenacity, which still fuels her today. Her life experiences and family background are stories unto themselves. Her parents were Holocaust survivors, and in 1982 she was a researcher finding Nazi war criminals for the Anti-Defamation League. Besides being a Latina filmmaker, she is an audio engineer, an apparel designer, an entrepreneur who once owned a yoga studio, and the proud mother of four children. Carla Berkowitz is an incredible creative force of nature.
Carla Berkowitz will appear with ‘Critical Thinking’ at 2 p.m. Tuesday, August 3 in the Abraham Chavez Theatre.