Pearls Lost


The importance of Pearls Lost is two-fold for me. One, I am Hapa: half-Filipino, half-Caucasian.

I grew up in a small Appalachian coal-mining town, but I have spent most of my adult life in New

York City, Los Angeles, and currently Boston. As a filmmaker, I am interested in dismantling

damaging popular thought surrounding Appalachian culture. I believe that minorities and

females have powerful stories to tell, stories that add to and cultivate both the past and present

landscape of this unique region.

Pearls Lost is a fictional story drawn from my own experiences and reflects the perspective of

mountain folk towards queerness in the 1990s. This narrative short film is one part of a larger

body of work I am pursuing, called Hapalachia.

Secondly, filming in Harlan, Kentucky is non-negotiable. The process of filmmaking is just as

significant to me as the end product. I want to nurture local and regional artists and introduce

outside filmmakers to the beautiful communities of the mountains. I want to encourage

collaboration, education, and symbiotic relationships. I believe this is where genius resides.

Now that I've spent much of my life outside of the region of my childhood, I find a great sense of

urgency to return to it. Kentucky is, after all, my core. Like others in the Appalachian diaspora, it

is there with me wherever I go.


Pearls Lost is a fictional narrative short film set in the Appalachian mountains of Southeastern Kentucky in the early 1990s.

Renee, James, and their daughter Samantha have been living with Renee's ex-husband, Ric, and daughters, Anna and Esther, an arrangement meant to ensure a mother's presence in their daughters' lives. On an idyllic summer day, tensions mount for Renee as a family secret is revealed and a daughter goes missing.


Rebecca Ocampo (Writer/Director/Producer) began her artistic career as a professional dancer and actress in NYC and Los Angeles, performing in films, television, stage, commercials and music videos. Her most recent work can be seen in the docu-series, In Class with Jocelyn Jones, a 16-episode Master Class series for actors. Rebecca is currently pursuing a MFA in Film and Media Art at Emerson College in Boston with a focus in Directing and Narrative Fiction.


Ryan Shrime (Producer) is a writer, actor, producer, and voice performer. A Texas-born son of Lebanese immigrants, he graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics. While pursuing acting in New York, he founded his own theater company and produced the Arab-American Comedy Festival. Moving to Los Angeles, he co-founded and co-wrote the Middle Eastern Comedy Festival, sponsored by Disney|ABC and Fox. Ryan has appeared in many television and film projects, as well as voice acting in animation, podcasts, and video games. An award-winning screenwriter, he also began producing in 2012 and has helmed numerous projects since. Ryan can currently be seen on stage at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles in the world premiere of The Ants.



Alexxiss Jackson (DP) is a Director of Photography and Adjunct Cinematography Professor at Spelman College. She is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild/IATSE Local 600, the Society of Camera Operators (SOC), and the International Collective of Female Cinematographers (ICFC). She was also selected as a participant in the 2022-2023 American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Vision Program.

Alexxiss received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Film/Video Studies and English from the University of Michigan. For further formal training, she also attended the Summer Film Program at the University of Southern California. She has served as Director of Photography on narrative features, narrative shorts, commercials, branded content, music videos, and more; including work for entities such as Vogue Magazine, Google, MSNBC, BET+/Tyler Perry Studios, Sony, VH1, and Kroger. She has worked as a Camera Operator on projects for Hulu and Vice News, including Emmy-nominated “The 1619 Project”.

Brad Carter (2nd AD/Acting Coach) Born in Fort Worth, Texas and raised outside of Macon, Georgia, Brad is an accomplished actor, standup comedian, musician, film composer, photographer, teacher, and artist. He has a BFA in Fine Art from Valdosta State University, and lived as a professional guitarist until the age of 29 . Brad has carved out a respectable name as a character actor appearing in Justified, Dexter, True Detective, Yellowstone, and Ozark, to name a few. Brad has also starred in 46 national commercials. Most recently he can be seen in the grind-house thriller Candy Land and will guest star in a recurring role on an upcoming series from the Marvel Universe. Brad currently spends his time between projects as a photographer and acting coach in Atlanta, Georgia.

IMDB Website

Meenakshi Garodia (1st AD) is a multimedia artist and current Affiliate Faculty at Emerson College where she is also a candidate for a MFA in Film and Media Arts. She has written and directed multiple well received plays (Don’t Talk) and short films (Solo), with an emphasis on women and patriarchy and her film series Voices, about Indian Immigrants. She is on the board of a non-profit helping survivors of domestic violence and the Brookline Commission for Women. Her ceramics have been exhibited at MassArt and non-profit fundraisers. Meenakshi holds an MBA and previously worked in corporate strategy at a fortune 500 company.

Nate Gardner (Sound Mixer) is a filmmaker, artist, and educator, completing an MFA in film at Emerson College.

He’s recorded sound on too many short films, documentary and narrative, and is mixing that many more, including a feature documentary about the Bollywood dream machine.

His resume is an exercise in whiplash, so here’s a sample: swum in Iceland in January at the Nes Artist Residency; played Frankenstein’s monster and performed Shakespeare at Lincoln Center; volunteered in the Peace Corps; currently in post-production on Circle 10, an anthology series following a bumbling detective in a supernatural world. Cooks a mean fried rice.


Kimberly Alexander (RENEE - LEAD) is a proud New Jerseyian turned Californian and a sore ballerina turned award-winning actor. Her most recent film credits include sharing the screen with Michael Madsen in the horror ‘Waking Karma’ and ‘Seeing Diane Arbus’, in which she played the famed photographer.

Kimberly is also known for her work in Los Angeles theatre and has performed on stage with Playwright’s Arena, The Triptych Group, The Road Theatre, The Victory Theatre, Circle X and The Elephant Theatre, amongst others. She has received Stage Raw and Robby Award wins and nominations for her LA Times Critics Choice stage work. Kimberly is probably on your TV right now in a commercial, perhaps it’s for Hyundai, Toyota, Verizon, 3M, Sleep Number, Hidden Valley, TJ Maxx or Spectrum. Kimberly studied Contemporary Drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. If she’s not pursuing creative work, she’s probably meditating or petting her dog.

MICHAEL A. DEAN (JAMES- SUPPORTING LEAD) Michael’s recent credits include They Cloned Tyrone, opposite Jamie Foxx, Dark Matter opposite Joel Edgerton ​and Season 2 of American Rust. Michael can also be seen as a Chef in The Menu directed by Mark Mylod (Succession) opposite Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor Joy and ​Nicholas Hoult.

Other credits include: The Trial of the Chicago Seven (*Winner - Screen Actors Guild Award Recipient of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture), ​Chicago Fire, Chicago PD & The Game.

NOEL ALUMIT (RIC - SUPPORTING) Noel Alumit wrote and performed the one man shows “The Rice Room: Scenes from a Bar” and “Master of the (Miss) Universe.”

Both Shows toured nationally and was named “One of the Best Productions of the Year” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “Best Bet” (Los Angeles Times). Other theatre

credits include: A Language of Their Own by Chay Yew (Celebration Theatre), Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee by Michael Kearns (Glaxa Studios), Christmas in Camp ​Part II by Dom Magwili (East West Players), among others.

Film and TV credits include: Mirando Russo’s Allliance (currently available on Amazon), Tamika Miller’s Smok’d, Beverly Hills 90210, Santa Barbara, The Young and

the Restless, and Red Surf starring George Clooney.

Noel is also a bestselling and award-winning writer. He wrote the novels “Letters to Montgomery Clift” and “Talking to the Moon.” His short story collection “Musiic ​Heard in Hi-Fi and Other Stories” was published in 2023.


JUNE 15th, 2023

Go Fund Me Launch

Our Goal is to raise $15,000.00 for our production in August 2023. Any donation amount is helpful in hiring local talent and crew, securing locations, equipment rentals, production design and props, transportation, lodging and food. Thank you for your support!

March 11, 2024


We are very close to picture locking the film and from there we will send it off for ​color correction, sound design & mix and to our music composer. The film will ​screen at Bright Lights Theater in Boston, MA along with other MFA Graduate ​Films during the first week of May, exact date TBD. Can’t wait to share with you!