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A look at the dark film Mr Lopez
Filmmaking is cooking. Well, not literally but it's very congruent in terms of an artistic approach. In order to make the type of meal you want (Italian, Chinese, American, etc.) you need certain ingredients.

The way that your chef (the director of a film) mixes these ingredients in terms of amounts and relationship to one another results in a (hopefully) pleasing experience for the patron. Add different ingredients or alter the combination amounts even a little and your palate may react very differently.

The miniscule percentages in these differences can culminate in an incredible film or one that is quite displeasing. When Jing Shi produced the film Mr Lopez, he took great care to place the most trusted professionals in his "kitchen" staff.

Lauded director Chenlin Qian (with awards and nominations from the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, Miami Independent Film Festival, LA Shorts, and numerous others) was receptive to suggestions for the film save two: cinematographer Haoxun Jiang and actor Benny Briseno. It was his contention that the lead role and the artist behind the camera were positions that required these exceptionally talented individuals to allow the director to create a masterpiece presentation titled Mr Lopez.

The film is dark; full of twists and turns. What initially seems ghoulish becomes a riveting mystery with an open hearted aspiration. Mr. Lopez is a mortician leading a mostly solitary existence until he becomes involved in a murder case by accident. His vocation has cultivated a numbness to the lives and lost loved ones he encounters. When a husband asks Lopez to clean the dead body of his wife whom he has murdered (accusing her of being unfaithful), a chain reaction is created with the wild variable of Mr. Lopez. Far from being obvious, the film becomes a love story near the end, proving that life can offer a rebirth even following death.

In the title role is Benny Briseno of Golden Globe nominated HBO series Silicon Valley. Similar to the disassociated and somewhat stoic Mr. Lopez, Briseno's voice is vibrant, a trait he often juxtaposes with a flat facial affect in his representation of the character. Haoxun (who won a Best Cinematography award for his work on Mr Lopez) explains his choices for this film stating, "I used a wide lens for the scenes where Lopez is working on dead bodies to create an apathetic yet peaceful disconnect and handhelds for the murder case scenes which were improvised. I wanted a documentary feel to the later to subconsciously pull a feeling of truth and validity to this part of the film." Haoxun also cites medieval Renaissance oil paintings as points of inspiration to give a sense of formality to the work and everyday life of Mr Lopez.

In addition to the earlier mentioned awards, Mr Lopez recently received nominations from the Miami Independent Film Festival and the Los Angeles CineFest. The carefully chosen artists and ingredients of Mr Lopez are expanding the notoriety for this appealing offering and gaining new admirers by the day.

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