Desolate Dreams is a dramatic short film set in 1942 downtown Los Angeles. It follows an African American journalist who advocates for justice alongside a Japanese American family forced into a prison camp after President FDR issued Executive Order 9066 following the events of Pearl Harbor.

Being a half-African American and half-Japanese filmmaker, I wanted to tell a story that not only looks at one Japanese American family’s experience with the impact of Pearl Harbor but also the African American community that advocated for justice alongside Japanese Americans. While some voices try to put the Asian and African American communities against each other, there is history of shared solidarity that deserves to be told. - Kiyoka "Kex" Rhodes (Writer, Producer, Director)This is a SAG-signatory production.

Meet the Filmmaker

Emmy nominee and award-winning filmmaker Kiyoka “Kex” Rhodes is a writer, director and producer of films and branded content for multiscreen platforms. She has directed and produced various commercials, films and other content for television with companies like NBC4 Washington, Comcast, The CW Network (DCW50), BBC Studios, 60 Second Docs, and the American Bar Association (ABA). Kiyoka is the Founder/Creative Director of Kex Studios and aims to continue using the art of film to tell stories with purpose and impact. (Website / IMDb)

Meet the Team

Kelsey Marsh (Line Producer

Kelsey crafts inspiring, entertaining, and educational stories for broadcast and digital platforms. She is adept in concept development and ideation, identifying the persuasive dynamic between audience and story. Prior to joining NowThis, Kelsey was a producer at Monumental Sports Entertainment, National Geographic, Maryland Public Television and Discovery Communications. She has produced narrative short and feature length films. Memberships & Affiliations: Producers Guild of America

image.jpgKar Logan (Assistant Producer)

Kar is a writer, actor, and producer from Prince George's County, MD. After moving to New York, he's written and produced for several digital series, including "Situationships" on BET and its spinoff "Wingmen" on TV One/IONE Digital. Always looking for new ways to think outside the box, Kar continues to create a lane for himself in today's acting and filmmaking world.

S.MariRobinson.jpgMari Robinson (Co-Producer)

Mari is a driven professional who builds inspiring stories via her strengths and knowledge in media, project management, producing for television, international business planning, marketing, and intellectua

l property. She is the Manager of Legal & Business Affairs at The Walt Disney Company and has worked with companies such as Sony and Nintendo.

Daniela Mileykovsky (Director of Photography)

Daniela Mileykovsky is a Baltimore based cinematographer. She has worked on a number of projects for networks including Netflix, National Geographic, Food Network, Discovery Channel, BET and many more.  Daniela blends the art forms of painting, narrative film, and improv jazz into the lens through which she views the film world. Her goal is to capture the aura of each character and to bring life to their story in a cinematic analogy. In early 2023, she participated in the 2023 cohort of the ASC Masterclass in Los Angeles.

Tiffani Sydnor (Production Designer)

Tiffani is a Washington, DC based production and interactive media designer. She holds a MFA in Production Design, a graduate certificate in Exhibit Design from The George Washington University and a B.A. in both Art History & Studio Art from the University of Maryland. For 10 years, she has designed a wide range of projects ranging from community theater to major film studios. Her most recent work has been with the Amazon Prime’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, HBO Max’s We Own This City and Apple TV’s Swagger.

Noriko Sakamoto (Editor)

Noriko is a television and film editor who loves storytelling. From her recent work as an Assistant Editor on Max's Tokyo Vice (Season 2)  to unscripted work on Say Yes to the Dress, Noriko works quickly and collaboratively with producers and directors to deliver on deadline. She is always looking for a great subject, story and challenging project to work on with talented people. She is a Japanese native, resides in NYC.

Sarah Cogen (Costume Designer)

Sarah is a professional film designer with over 14 years of design experience including features, episodic and commercial projects. She holds an M.A. in Fine Arts in Theater Design from Univ. of California, San Diego and a B.A. in Theater Design from Univ. of California, Santa Barbara. Some highlights include designing for Glamour Magazine’s content channel, designing several award winning shorts, and being nominated for Best Design by the Academy of Web Television. Sarah’s other credits also include assistant costume design for major television shows such as Kevin Can Wait, The Slap, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Blindspot Season 5. Her most recent design, the period drama 18 1/2.

Jacob Boyd (Composer)

Jacob has experience conducting and recording at Air Studios (Lyndhurst) in London with members of the London Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of the Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games Master’s Program at Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain, Jacob has been applying his education and collaborative experiences in Los Angeles.His work in the musical department ranges from films, television shows, documentaries, and more.

Meet the Cast

Deon Tillman (as Robert Parker)

As a photographer and storyteller, Deon immediately connected with the character. He has found that sometimes the most powerful piece to a story is documentation, and some of the best and most important stories show up unexpectedly. He is looking forward to working with the rest of the cast and crew to tell this story and make people reflect on what this country has been through.

Deon has experience as a background Film and TV actor appearing on projects such as “Harriet”, “Dopesick”, “Swagger”, and “Burning Sands”. While these projects all have important stories, Deon is very excited to be able to portray Robert Parker in “Desolate Dreams”.

Brent Yoshida (as Kazu Sakamoto)

Brent has many personal ties to the “Desolate Dreamsstory and character (Kazu Sakamoto).

Most importantly, multiple members of his family—including his grandparents—were incarcerated in numerous Japanese prison camps. Brent also shares common specifics with the character, being that he graduated from USC’s 5 year Architecture program, and his grandparents owned a business: Yas’ Market in Gardena, CA. He is looking forward to further collaborating with Kiyoka and the cast and crew to share a powerful story of a pivotal time in history that impacted generations of American citizens.

Noriko Sato (as Momoko Sakamoto)

Born and raised in Japan, Noriko went to an all-girls middle school where she found a love for sketch comedy and basketball. As a high school student in Canada, she began delving more into the world of acting by taking theatre classes. Noriko decided to attend college in the U.S., where she played NCAA basketball while taking more acting classes.

She is co-owner of a live comedy show called “BATSU!” where she performs weekly. She has appeared on “Everything's Trash” on Freeform, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon, “Betty en New York” on Telemundo, “My Adventures with Santa”, and more.

Noriko is super excited to have this opportunity to work with Kiyoka and be a part of “Desolate Dreams” that tells a story that has a historical significance. She hopes this film will touch as many souls as possible.