at Puget Sound. “Often, the kinds of prejudices
here occur in the form of microaggressions,” she
said, “these kinds of subtle nuances in, for ex-
ample, someone’s nonverbal cues.”
They had recently taken a course in film
criticism from Professor Susan Owen, and it
gave them the idea of making a movie, one “re-
ally showing the interaction of students of color
or students of sexual difference in context and
relationship with the people that they meet,”
Airiel said. “I really wanted to give voice to those
The women decided the structure of their
film would incorporate elements of the 2002
The Hours,
which they had studied in
Owen’s class, and the 2004 Best Picture Oscar
Both films have multiple story
lines focusing on different sets of characters, and
The Hours
jumps back and forth between several
time periods. Using those pictures as inspiration,
Airiel decided her screenplay would have a “mo-
ment to moment” structure, “where there is less
of an emphasis on narrative and more emphasis
on specific instances in moments.”
The 2012 school year ended and they went
their separate ways. Airiel went home to write
the screenplay, drawing on her own experi-
ences and those of friends and classmates. She
and Romene kept in touch via Skype, email,
text messages, and Google Docs, and exchanged
ideas throughout the summer. The final shoot-
ing script has three interconnected storylines set
in three eras. “There are bits and pieces of me in
every single segment,” Airiel said.
The story that opens the movie is the one
with the scene that was being filmed that March
day in the chapel. Set in the 1940s, it dramatizes
actual events leading up to the internment of
Puget Sound’s Japanese-American students dur-
ing World War II. Another, set in the ’70s, tells
the fictional story of an uneasy romance between
a white male student and a black female student
in an era during which such pairings were much
less common than they are today. A third, set
in the ’90s, focuses on the conflicted relation-
ship between a gay student and his heterosexual
roommate. A fourth, eventually dropped because
of difficulties scheduling shooting around cast
members’ academic schedules, was set in the
present day and told of a female Hispanic stu-
dent’s struggle with issues related to her ethnic
With script in hand, Romene went to work.
She had interned at a Seattle TV station, had
taken a film-production course at an area com-
munity college, and had made a short film on
campus in 2012, so she had a little background
in production. And she was determined to re-
cruit the best possible actors and crew. “Like a
shark in the water, I targeted my talented prey
and sought them out,” she said.
For the role of the black female student
romantically involved with a white male stu-
dent, on Facebook she found Olivia Perry ’15,
an English major who had performed in chil-
dren’s theater productions in her hometown of
Phoenix, Ariz. She found her cinematographer
Daniel, a Chinese studies student and self-taught
photography buff, on the microblogging site
Tumblr, where he had posted some of his still
She found her director, Liam, whose major
is politics, when she was asked to shoot a video
of a performance of the student circus club,
whose members’ acrobatic routines are in the
Facing page: On a moody Tacoma morning, shooting a scene on the old Yakima Avenue bridge. Above: Romene, Airiel, Liam. Below: Paige Maney ’15,
who plays Margaret in the film, the main character in the 1940s segment.