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


Where East Oakland meets the Far East 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?


Award won: Hola Mexico Film Festival 2015- DishLATINO and Cinelatino Audience Choice Award See more »


Juana: Sometimes I think you're just happy with us working, but never succeeding at anything.
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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

I love film like this, as they are about REAL people with real problems.
20 August 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I noticed some time ago that some of my very favorite films are about food--perhaps it's because I love to cook. Off the top of my head, I can quickly think of some real classic foodie movies, such as "Babette's Feast", "Mostly Martha", "The Big Night" and "The Hundred-Foot Journey". I might want to a new film to this list-- "East Side Sushi". Unfortunately, this film is not yet scheduled for a nation-wide release, but there are going to be some limited engagements in California theaters starting September 18th--most likely because the audiences there have a large concentration of Hispanic-Americans (and the leading character is a Mexican- American). I sure hope it comes to other markets, as this film by Anthony Lucero is a little gem.

Juana (Diana Elizabeth Torres) is a brilliant cook. But she and her father are struggling to raise her daughter. Their pay is meager and her job selling fruit on the streets has become rather dangerous. On a lark, she decides to go to work at a local Japanese restaurant instead of doing her usual Mexican-style cooking. Here at the restaurant, she does a lot of the prep-work--and the sushi chefs do the actual sushi work. But she is fascinated by their work and soon realizes that sushi is delicious...and so, with only a little bit of help to get her started, she teaches herself how to make sushi. After a year of practice on her family, Juana is quite accomplished and is ready to make the leap in the restaurant from prep work to sushi...but there is a problem. Mexican-Americans do NOT work in sushi bars and everyone KNOWS that only Japanese men can excel in this art..right?! Well, Juana is determined...and conventional wisdom may not be right after all.

So why did I like this film so much? Well, the biggest reason is that the film is about people. Because of the wonderful performances and nice direction, you can believe that Juana is a real person--not just a plot device. You feel for her, you see her struggle, you like her and want her to succeed. I like movies about people and their everyday lives--and this one really works for me. I also appreciate that many times I expected things to happen one way in the movie but the writer (also Lucero) chose to avoid these clichés and formula--so it kept me guessing. Overall, this is a lovely little film--one that left me a bit hungry for more.

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