The Sensei

The Sensei

The Sensei is a 2008 independent feature film, written, produced, and directed by Diana Lee Inosanto (Diana Lee Inosanto). The story takes place in Colorado, USA, during the 1985 AIDS panic. McClain Evans is a gay high school student who has always been a target of bullying in his town. Karen O’Neil is a woman plagued by the death of boxer fiance Mark Corey. After five years of absence, she returned to her family, who ran a successful martial arts school.

The Sensei

When McLean was attacked by three local teenagers, his mother Annie asked Karen to teach her son martial arts so that he could defend himself. Karen’s family was worried about anti-gay revenge, so Karen was forced to teach McClain secretly at night. When this sentence spread to her family and small town communities, violence broke out and family and friendships were challenged, which forced Karen to reveal her dark and tragic secrets to her loved ones.

The Sensei

Best Feature Writer – La Femme International Film Festival
Honorable Mention, Best Feature Film – Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Best Screenplay (Feature Film) – Hoboken International Film Festival

Directed by
Diana Lee Inosanto (as D. Lee Inosanto)

Writing Credits
Diana Lee Inosanto (written by) (as D. Lee Inosanto)

Diana Lee Inosanto as Karen O’Neil (as D. Lee Inosanto)
Keith David as The Minister
Melissa Taylor as Lorna
Shane Weingardt as Attacker #1
Mark Griffin Jr. as Attacker #2 (as Mark Griffin)
Ryan J. Parker as Attacker #3 (as Ryan Parker)
Michael O’Laskey II as McClain Evans (as Mike O’Laskey)
Ayo Fadeyi as Policeman #1 (as Ayodeji Fadeyi)
Curtis Magee-Ortiz as Policeman #2
Jeff Liu as Matthew
Danny Lopez as Picture of Tim
Kerry Knuppe as Brenda
Jonathan Camp as Craig Beard
John Campbell as John
Ben Perkins as Buck

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Matthew Wood as Matt – Kid being teased
Steve Bradley as Protective Parent
Robert Kammer as Biker with Beer
Tim Lounibos as Simon O’Neil
Michael Hake as Gary O’Neil
Cesar Lomeli as Sheriff Salazar
Germaine De Leon as Darrel (as Germaine DeLeon)
Scott Cooper Ryan as Clyde (as Scott Ryan)
Gina Scalzi as Annie Evans
Spice Williams-Crosby as Judith (as Spice Williams)
Sab Shimono as Taki Nakano
Michael Yama as Yori Nakano
Ellis McGee as Brian – Black Belt / Samurai #3
Brad Thornton as Larry – Black Belt
Bryan Frank as Peter O’ Neil
Arlene Rapal as Anita O’Neil
Hanna Watanabe as Young Amy
Mark McGraw as Rick Beard

Madelon Guinazzo as Jane Norton
Michael Auteri as Pastor George
Lisa Dalton as Jean Beard
Justin Frazier as Gym Coach
Louis Mandylor as Mark Corey
Ken Kerman as Coach Vickens
Vincent Olan as Cut Man Jack
Steve Reiter as Corner Man
Willie Laureano as Fighter #1 / Samurai #2
Alex Jovica as Fighter #2
Mathew Albanese as Fighter #3
Stephen Blea as Referee #2
Ron Balicki as Samurai #1 / Sparring Partner Vince
Sara N. Salazar as Death (as Sara Salazar)
Matt Stetson as Principal Smith
Jefferson Arca as Pook

Phillip Held as Zeke (as Phil Held)
J. Michael Weiss as Charlie
Alan Shackelford as Dr. Bremmer
Oscar Bravo as Alejandro Vega
Manuel Roybal as Coach Zapade
C.C. Edwards as Referee #3
Phil Luna as Funeral Director
Tzi Ma as Buddhist Monk
Erik Betts as Kevin
Sheila Looney as Nina
Maiz Lucero as Jessie
Larry St. Clair as Black Belt #1
Dennis Batka as Black Belt #4
Rosine ‘Ace’ Hatem as Deputy Sheriff Taylor (as Ace Hatem)

Esperanza Catubig as Melody O’Neil
Jimmy Drain as Jock
Mark Steven Grove as Samurai #4
Emily Kuroda as Flora Nakano
Mike Mukatis as Jim O’Neil
Vanessa Phoenix as Activist
Heather Soon as Adult Amy
Dennis Yen as Black Belt
Jake Alexander as Martial Artist (uncredited)
Fred Degerberg as Boxing Coach (uncredited)
Diana Reveal as Karen Nakano (uncredited)

The Sensei
The Sensei

Release Dates
USA : 4 May 2008 (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival)
USA : 28 June 2008 (Frameline Film Festival)
USA : 12 October 2008 (Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival)
USA : 9 March 2010 (DVD premiere)
Australia : 5 June 2011 (DVD premiere)

Filming Locations
Colorado, USA
Denver, Colorado, USA
Sterling, Colorado, USA
Thousand Oaks, California, USA

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