Q&A With Acting for Film Alum Dr. Ariel Orama López on Creating Short Film “2ḦOOM” During a Global Pandemic

Like many filmmakers in 2020, this year has proven to be an uncertain time for filmmaking, however, filmmakers like Dr. Ariel Orama López has shown that the COVID-19 has no intention of slowing down their creative process or pursuing a successful film festival run.

Dr. López was eligible for the 2020 Oscars with his previous film One and for his latest film for his latest latest film 2ḦOOM [Zoom] he has already begun to receive a steady amount of laurels. Filmed indoors and outdoors, under strict protection measures and with the integration of creative elements during the COVID-19 pandemic, the short film follows the vulnerability of human beings, patients at risk and themes of immortality and Dr. López enlists the help of Peruvian animator and cartoonist Jorge Cáceres and an Italian composer Daniele Carretta to create a project that represents the related topics that emerged after the pandemic. 

NYFA caught up with the Acting for Film alum to discuss his latest short film 2ḦOOM [Zoom] and creativity in the time of COVID-19. López’s responses have also been translated into Spanish by the alum for those who prefer to read his responses in Spanish. 

Film poster for ‘2ḦOOM’

New York Film Academy (NYFA): What has been your inspiration for creating your short film 2ḦOOM [Zoom] during this very uncertain time as a writer, director, and actor?

Dr. Ariel Orama López (AL): When the pandemic arrived, my intuitive mind thought of two things: first, that the vaccine or the ‘antidote’ against COVID-19 could be related to the structure that gives the dreaded virus the shape of a “crown.”  I shared with my loved ones, with evidence, right at the beginning of this global situation. Second, that HIV/AIDS could be understood, in another way, after studies and future findings on the relatively new condition, and vice versa. Considering my formal education in Science and Arts, I decided to create a short film that linked such elements with the unimaginable power of water and the mysteries of quantum physics: a story that alluded to the “shield” or “armour” of the coronavirus (even on an emotional level, as a metaphor) as well as the stigma of HIV. Today we are one voice, without races: a new universe of masked beings. And that is how my short film 2ḦOOM [zoom] was born.”

Cuando llegó la pandemia, mi mente intuitiva pensó en dos cosas: la primera, que la vacuna o el ‘antídoto’ contra Covid-19 podrían estar relacionados con la estructura que le otorga al temido virus la forma de ‘corona’. Lo compartí con mis seres queridos, con evidencia, justo al comienzo de esta situación global. En segundo lugar, que el VIH/SIDA podría entenderse, de otra manera, después de estudios y hallazgos futuros sobre la condición relativamente nueva, y viceversa. Al considerar mi educación formal en ciencias y artes, decidí crear un cortometraje que vinculase tales elementos con el poder inimaginable del agua y los misterios de la física cuántica: una historia que aludiese al ‘escudo’ -o ‘armadura’- del coronavirus (incluso a nivel emocional, como metáfora) así como al estigma del VIH. Hoy somos una sola voz, sin razas: un nuevo universo de seres enmascarados. Y así nació el cortometraje 2ḦOOM [Zoom].

In addition to animation, live action sequences are also present in ‘2ḦOOM’ 

NYFA: Are you submitting the film to any upcoming festivals

AL: The short film 2ḦOOM [Zoom] is already submitted into distinguished international festivals: we hope that it can be screened in various countries, just like my previous short film One, which screened at 40 festivals. The magic of 2ḦOOM lies in its hybrid of animation and live filmed scenes, which is why we bet that they will be very well received in various contexts. We are celebrating that we already received eight international laurels (Chile, UK, Estados Unidos (virtual limited projection), Los Angeles, India and Puerto Rico) and one international prize.

El cortometraje 2ḦOOM [zu:m] ya se encuentra sometido en distinguidos diversos festivales internacionales: esperamos que pueda ser proyectado en diversos países, tal como sucedió con mi cortometraje anterior ONE, proyectado en 40 festivales. La magia de 2ḦOOM [zu:m] radica en su combinación de animación con escenas filmadas, por lo cual, apostamos a que tendrá una gran acogida en diversos contextos. Estamos celebrando que ya recibimos ocho laureles internacionales (Chile, Reino Unido, Estados Unidos (proyección limitada virtual), Los Ángeles, India and Puerto Rico) y un premio internacional. 

Still from animation sequence in ‘2ḦOOM’

NYFA: What do you hope people relate to or discuss after watching your film?

AL: I hope that 2ḦOOM viewers do not lose sight of the challenges of making a short film in full confinement. Precisely, the short highlights the vicissitudes of two family members when faced with such circumstances, in addition to the COVID-19 factor. Along the way, we managed to create a story with substance and creativity, with wonderful elements that inspire our new society to evolve, beyond races or social distinctions: as one, powerful voice.

Anhelo que los espectadores 2ḦOOM [zu:m] no pierdan de perspectiva los retos que conlleva efectuar un cortometraje en pleno confinamiento: precisamente, el corto destaca las vicisitudes de dos miembros de la familia al encontrarse ante tales circunstancias, sumados al factor COVID-19. En el trayecto, logramos elaborar una historia con sustancia y dotada de creatividad, con elementos maravillosos que inspiran a nuestra nueva sociedad a evolucionar, más allá de razas o distinciones sociales, como una sola y poderosa voz.

NYFA: What were some of the challenges you faced when creating the film?

AL: Among the challenges faced, the distance factor was one of the most complex elements and, at the same time, the one that allowed us to use creativity the most. Recreating a Zoom conversation with visual and sound quality, allowed us to think of innovative strategies to make it feel like a Zoom© call, but from a filmmaking perspective. Thanks to God and the commendable work of all the participants of the project (which includes talent from Peru, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, USA, Venezuela and Chile, together with Puerto Rico), we were able to create a product of which we are proud and one that I am sure it will be kept in the hearts of the spectators.

Dentro de los retos confrontados, el factor distancia fue uno de los elementos de mayor complejidad y, a la vez, el que más nos permitió utilizar la creatividad. El recrear una conversación de zoom© con calidad visual y sonora, nos permitió pensar en estrategias innovadoras para que se sintiera como Zoom, pero desde una mirada fílmica. Gracias a Dios y al trabajo encomiable de todos los participantes del proyecto (que incluye talento de Perú, Italia, Argentina, México, Perú Colombia, Estados Unidos, Venezuela y Chile, sumado a Puerto Rico), pudimos gestar un producto del cual nos sentimos orgulloso y que, estoy seguro, quedará guardado en los corazones de los espectadores.

Mask on for Dr. López behind the scenes filming on location in Puerto Rico

NYFA: When will the film be available for the public to view?

AL: The film will be competing for two years in a cycle of international festivals and we are in negotiation for a commercial screening in the US. Recently, it was presented in the United Kingdom, the United States and Puerto Rico, virtually. Currently, it is presented at the Rincon International Film Festival (RIFF) from August 7 to September 6, 2020.

El filme estará por dos años compitiendo en ciclo de festivales internacionales y estamos en negociación para una proyección comercial en cine en USA. Recientemente, se presentó en Reino Unido, Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico, de forma virtual. Actualmente, se presenta en el Rincón International Film Festival (RIFF) del 7 de agosto al 6 de septiembre en 

New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Dr. Ariel Orama López on his recent success for his latest film and for sharing more on creating a film during the COVID-19 pandemic. NYFA encourages others to view the film when it becomes available to view outside the festival circuit. 

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UPDATE: September 14, 2020

“Our short film 2ḦOOM [zu:m] just received four nominations: two for Leading Actors (“Best Leading Actors” – Jonathan Cardenales & AG Orloz), one for Script Work (“Best Screenplay” – AG Orloz) and a fourth nomination laurel for Best Soundtrack (Danielle Carretta from Italy & AG Orloz)With all this, our short film on Covid-19 and HIV / AIDS reaches 19 international laurels, in just two months of international festivals. In other words, almost the trajectory of ONE -eligible to the Oscars 2020-, in two years. For our optimized version of the short film, we have included representative voices from Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Brazil. Our eternal gratitude to them, as well as to the entire production team and the representative voices of Latin America (Chile, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, and Argentina) that make up this Film and Multimedia project. We continue to add cinematographic achievements for Puerto Rico, in times of transformation!”

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Q&A With Acting for Film Alum Dr. Ariel Orama López on Creating Short Film "2ḦOOM" During a Global Pandemic by