East Side Sushi The Award-winning independent movie by Anthony Lucero
Meet Juana, a Latina single-mother who pedals fruit from a cart on Oakland, California’s eastside. Juana has spent years working in the food industry and has learned how to wield a knife with super-sonic speed. She can slice and dice anything with the skill of Masaharu Morimoto.
When Juana decides she wants to become a sushi chef, she finds herself a stranger in a strange land—wrong gender, wrong culture. What she does have going for her is passion for the craft. The movie follows Juana’s journey from dream to reality, with plenty of bumps in between.
Filmmaker, Anthony Lucero, got the idea for this film when he wrote a short story about a dishwasher determined on becoming a cook in a greasy spoon.
“I thought that if I could write that story about a guy who wants to become a cook,” Lucero explained, “and make that story compelling, then I would have done my job as a writer.”
That’s how a number of chefs start their career. Sushi Master Masa Shimakawa (featured this month) comes to mind. So the compelling part of dishwasher-turned-cook fizzled in the light of reality. Then Lucero saw a documentary called The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, where the main character sets out to get the high score in Donkey Kong. The film turned something small and simple into an epic account.
“I wanted to do the same with my writing,” Lucero said. “Take a small story, like the story of a woman who wants to become a sushi chef, and turn it into something much bigger.”
The idea of a Latina-turned-sushi-chef made a good fit with Lucero’s big picture of what he thought should appear on the big screen.
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