33 user 19 critic

East Side Sushi (2014)

PG | | Drama | 18 September 2015 (USA)
1:59 | Trailer

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Single mom Juana can slice and dice anything with great speed and precision. After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, she decides to take a job at a local Japanese restaurant. ... See full summary »


Anthony Lucero


Anthony Lucero
11 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Diana Elizabeth Torres ... Juana
Yutaka Takeuchi ... Aki
Rodrigo Duarte Clark Rodrigo Duarte Clark ... Apa
Kaya Jade Aguirre Kaya Jade Aguirre ... Lydia
Roji Oyama Roji Oyama ... Mr. Yoshida
Miyoko Sakatani ... Mrs. Yoshida
Lane Nishikawa Lane Nishikawa ... Jimmy Nishida
Melissa Locsin Melissa Locsin ... TV Show Coordinator
James J. Der Jr. ... Kyung
Bartholomew Wang ... Robert
Edwin Li Edwin Li ... Billy
Jesus Fuentes Jesus Fuentes ... Victor
Kathleen Park Kathleen Park ... Waitress #1
Sara Matsui-Colby ... Waitress #2
Tomoharu Nakamura Tomoharu Nakamura ... Hitoshi Watanabe


Single mom Juana can slice and dice anything with great speed and precision. After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, she decides to take a job at a local Japanese restaurant. Intrigued by the food, she learns to make a multitude of sushi on her own. Eventually she attempts to become a sushi chef, but is unable to because she is the 'wrong' race and gender. Against all odds, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, determined to not let anyone stop her from achieving her dream. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not your typical Mexican cuisine. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief violence, suggestive content and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »




English | Spanish

Release Date:

18 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A sushi árnyékos oldalán See more »

Filming Locations:

Oakland, California, USA


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Color (Fujicolor)| Color
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Did You Know?


Was selected by the University of Southern California and the State Department for the 2016-2017 American Film Showcase. See more »


Aki: [showing the octopus] Tako.
Juana: Ah... like a taco?
[gesturing for the mexican cuisine]
Aki: Yeah, I guess so.
See more »


East Side Sushi Score
Composed and produced by Alex Mandel
Performed by Alex Mandel
Strings conducted by Minna Choi & performed by The Magik*Magik Orchestra
Percussion by David Brandt
Published by Vineland Records / Modern Works Publishing (ASCAP)
Record and mixed at 25th Street Recording - Oakland, CA
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User Reviews

Hard to see how this fresh take on the chef/food genre could be done better
19 September 2015 | by steven-leibsonSee all my reviews

Stop me if you've heard this before: aspiring chef wants to make it to the top. Sure, we've seen those films. Now stop me if you've heard this one: aspiring Latina wants to become a top sushi chef. Wrong race. Wrong gender. Ambitious goal. Lead actor Diana Elizabeth Torres delivers an outstanding performance as Juana, the barrio fruit cart vendor who aspires to better things.

Walking by a sushi restaurant one day, she spies the food and marvels at the look of the food. After all, for sushi the look is as important as the taste and the mouth feel. It's an edible art form unlike the rolled burritos and fried tacos she's used to making.

Juana also spies a help-wanted sign in the window of the sushi restaurant and gets a back-kitchen position. However, she dreams of making sushi out in front behind the sushi counter. The movie's story is all about her efforts to get there despite many obstacles at the restaurant and at home.

This is a very inspiring film of grit and determination. If it were a western, Juana would be wielding a gun and a Bowie knife. Instead, it's a sushi knife.

Do yourself a favor and go see this film. It was filmed in Oakland on a shoestring budget by an indie filmmaking company and writer-director Anthony Lucero but I think it's as good as anything you'll see from Hollywood.

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