Project type: Fiction Short
Project status: Development
Director: Alexis Sterling
Writer: Kendra Arimoto
Producer: Cori-Anne Greenhouse
Cinematographer: Kalilah Robinson
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At a dance for Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII, a quiet teen relies upon her zoot suit alter-ego to win the girl.


“Pachuke” [a slang term used by Japanese Americans when referring to Japanese American zoot suiters of the 1940’s] is a musical tale of a quiet Nisei teen who calls upon her zoot suit alter-ego to boldly approach the girl of her dreams during a dance hall event held at the Manzanar War Relocation Center. Set entirely to Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”, as performed by the Minidoka Swing Band, the piece is a musical and highly-choreographed imagining of the escapism required for the imprisoned youth to endure the dire circumstances of Japanese American incarceration during WWII.

Meet the Filmmakers

Alexis Boozer Sterling — Director
Alexis Boozer Sterling​ is a storyteller dedicated to bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront to expose, educate and empathize. She attended Stanford University (BA, Drama ’04; Evelyn M. Draper Prize for Performance), where both her production work and research included interdepartmental studies (Political Science) to explore theatre as a tool for social change and international development. Her work as a performer and production manager spans almost 20 years of theatre, film and digital productions (including EMMY-winning Emma Approved) and has taken her to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Teatr.doc (Moscow, Russia), SF Fringe Festival, Grand Prix Lichtenstein, XXS Film Festival Dortmund, Indie Memphis, Catalina Film Festival, Google+ Film Festival, Oxford Film Festival, Dances with Films, the IAWTV Awards, and the Streamy Awards.

As a creative producer with [Door Flies Open], Alexis develops, directs and produces diversity-promoting content with unique and important viewpoints. Her recent production work includes two dance pieces: the first, for Paramount and Intel, a VR experience of Grease with original 1978 film director Randal Kleiser; the second, a historical dance recreation for the 2019 Buckingham Palace Summer Opening exhibit sponsored by the Royal Collection Trust. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA and the Director’s Guild of America.

Kendra Arimoto​ — Writer
Kendra Arimoto​ is a Japanese-American writer, performer, activist, and mother. Her life’s mission: to tell powerful stories thematically-focused on Japanese American ancestral memory, intergenerational trauma, and the queer woman of color experience. She is currently an Artist-in-Residence-in-Motherhood (2016-2019) and collaborator at Door Flies Open, an LA-based creative collective for underrepresented voices. Her feature screenplay, Starshine and Clay, was recently selected by Francis Ford Coppola as the GRAND-PRIZE-WINNER of the 16th Annual American Zoetrope Screenplay Competition. A proud alumna of Stanford University (B.A. Drama) and Smith College (M.F.A Playwriting), she won the Louis Sudler Prize for excellence in the performing arts, Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for creative work involving social issues, and James Baldwin Fund Prize for multi-cultural playwriting. One of her most memorable experiences was working on the development of her very first full-length play as an EarlyStages Playwright-in-Residence at the Berkshire Fringe under the mentorship of Susan Kim. When not writing scripts or raising kids, she’s leading engineering recruiting and diversity initiatives at companies such as Google, YouTube, and Facebook.

Kalilah Robinson — Cinematographer
A native of Bermuda, Kalilah Robinson​ attended Stanford University where she studied Psychology and Film Studies. In the years following, Kalilah worked as a freelance filmmaker on numerous projects ranging from music videos, web series and commercials, to reality TV, documentaries and narrative feature films. In the fall of 2010 she founded Somers Isle Productions, an independent production company dedicated to the development of projects about Bermuda’s rich cultural heritage. In 2016, Kalilah graduated from The American Film Institute’s cinematography master’s program where her thesis film, Lawman, which she shot, co-wrote and co-produced won the ViZio + Dolby Vision Filmmaker’s Challenge. That same year Kalilah was named a Film Independent – Project Involve Cinematography Fellow. Kalilah is currently based out of Los Angeles, CA where she continues to freelance as a cinematographer and producer.

Cori-Anne Greenhouse — Producer
Cori-Anne Greenhouse​ was born and raised in a small town on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (Hilo, Hawai’i). For the last 18 years, Cori has worked on everything from casting to producing, and has worn many other crew-based hats in between. She started working as an Art Department Coordinator on Nash Bridges in San Francisco before transitioning to Los Angeles and casting. She’s worked for respected commercial casting directors Jeff Rosenman, Joe Blake and Shane Liem and cast theatrically under her own company, Kiku Casting. Cori continues to pursue the art, craft, and business of telling stories for diverse audiences. She is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, and several very tight-knit groups of friends. She resides in Los Angeles with her rescue dog Kona.

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