Jennifer Akana Sturla


Jennifer’s USC graduate thesis film KAMEA (25 min, 35mm) won top prizes at several festivals including Best Short at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival. Next, Jennifer was hired to write and direct the action-sports narrative short RIDE THE WAKE (22 min, 35mm) which found distribution to Amazon and Netflix. Her dance movie in development, HAWAIIAN STYLE, was developed in part by Sony Pictures.

Born to a Hawaiian beauty queen and an aerospace engineer from New Jersey, growing up Jennifer vacillated between the life of a southern California “Valley Girl” and the world of her Hawaiian family on the Big Island and on O‘ahu. Jennifer attended an arts-oriented Rudolf Steiner Waldorf school after which she earned her Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her Master of Fine Arts in film and television production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television (now the School of Cinematic Arts).

Since her first entertainment industry job as a polyester-clad NBC Page in Burbank, Jennifer’s 19 years in “Hollywood” are marked by myriad gigs. On Fox’s original BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 Jennifer assisted the writers on the show; she worked as a researcher on HBO’s Spielberg/Hanks produced BAND OF BROTHERS; on MGM’s Paul Walker water epic INTO THE BLUE Jennifer apprenticed with the director John Stockwell; later, Jennifer spent six years working on the Sony Pictures studio lot in publicity, marketing, and distribution, among countless other jobs, while working on her own independent film projects.