I am a director, producer, writer, editor, and actor best known for my role in the cult classic Sharknado with over eight years of experience in the entertainment industry. However, I am also a well-rounded intellectual type holding an M.A. (UCLA) and B.A. (CSU Long Beach) in Asian American Studies with a focus on gender studies and media and cultural analysis.
Through UCLA’s EthnoCommunications program, I directed my first-ever documentary short Master of the Sky: The Life and Art of Sam Koji Hale. Also while at UCLA, I was a Visual Communications Armed with a Camera fellow and directed the narrative short, Heart of Mind. The film went on to air on Comcast’s XFINITY On Demand for 2017’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and is available for streaming on CHOPSO this 2018.
After graduate school, I went on to produce and edit videos for UCLA's Mapping Indigenous Los Angeles and teach writing, performance, and video production for students at alternative high schools and juvenile detention centers through artworxLA (seriously one of the best non-profits out there). I currently work as a content producer for IW Group, an award-winning multicultural marketing, public relations, and advertising company. At IW, I produce branded content and pitch videos as well as broadcast TV commercials and digital social media banners and assets for clients including McDonald's, General Motors, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Southern California Edison, RealFiction, and more.
I balance my day job with both personal creative work -- I'm writing a feature screenplay at the moment and am developing a short film to direct later this year -- and community involvement. I am also a second-year features programmer for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and a member of the Asian American Documentary Network.
But at the end of the day, I am a storyteller. The stories I try to tell are meaningful and nuanced explorations of the Other, the in-between, the underrepresented, the margins. It is through amplifying these types of stories and characters that, I believe, we find understanding, provocation, and even healing. And I think our world needs that now more than ever.
Q: Sumiko, what is this crest-like flower circle at the top of your page?
A: The symbol above is my family kamon which is basically a Japanese crest or emblem. The flowers are wisteria (fuji). I'm told we descended from samurai but I'm still trying to track that down.