Film 'Esmeralda' by UT student at international film festivals

| Stan Waning

Samantha Orozco Carvallo (24), a UT master's student in Biomedical Engineering, worked for six years on her stop-motion film 'Esmeralda, la historia del Eterno Enamorado'. The short movie is now playing at film festivals in Mexico, Spain, Italy and Germany. Hopefully you will be able to see it in the Netherlands soon as well.

Samantha Orozco Carvallo (24).

For the origin of the film, we have to go back to Hermosillo, in the 1980s. In the big city in northern Mexico, a man has been walking past a shop almost every day for ten years. There, in front of the shop window, he waves at a mannequin doll. The doll reminds him of his dead wife, the only thing he can think about. 'A well-known love story in Hermosillo. Esmeralda is the name of the woman,' says Orozco Carvallo. Esmeralda, la historia del Eterno Enamorado means the history of the eternal lover.

Link to the trailer.

Film contest

From an early age, the magic of the film world spoke to the Mexican student. She made short films as often as possible and took courses to become better. In 2016, a great opportunity suddenly presented itself in her hometown of Hermosillo. 'At a film competition you could pitch an idea for a film. The winner was given all the tools to develop that plan.' Orozco Carvallo seized her chance and began the project, which she recently completed. In 2019, she received three different grants. 'From then on, we could do it exactly as I dreamed.'

For various reasons, the student needed a long time to make the film. Especially the research into the story took a lot of time. 'First I had to find the owner of the shop which  the man visited for ten years. I finally succeeded and he was able to tell the story in detail. Unfortunately, the main character in the story had already died by then,' says the filmmaker. 'We took our time for all the other steps, because we wanted to tell the story the way we thought it should be told.' 

Delay

Esmeralda is made with stop-motion animation. This means that almost all the movements in the documentary consist of photos that have been pasted together. An enormous job, especially in combination with studying on the other side of the world. 'And corona didn't make things any easier. In September I travelled to the Netherlands. I left everything well prepared in Mexico, but the corona crisis delayed things. The extra communication - with a considerable time difference - caused a lot of stress, but we managed.’

Orozco Carvallo worked on the film mainly in her spare time. Especially since there was no connection with the UT or her studies in the film. At least, hardly any. 'I saw the stop-motion technique from the film reflected in my study, because it is also used in the biomedical world to visualise examples.'

Esmeralda has recently been screened at film festivals in Mexico, Spain, Italy and Germany and if it were up to Orozco Carvallo, the Netherlands would soon join in, but she says that we will have to wait and see. Although the 14-minute film cost her blood, sweat and tears and still counts as a hobby, the Master's student cannot wait to start a similar project again. 'I would like to continue making films and have ideas for several projects in my head. Hopefully I can start something again soon.'