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El Perfumista (The Perfumer)

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Drama | USA | 24min | October 2019

Pedro Marquez is a prestigious perfumer, as well as the mentor of his daughter. One day he discovers his sense of smell is deteriorating. Too proud to admit it, Pedro tries to complete the product blindly, risking his reputation as well as the trust of his daughter. 





Director of photography

Production Designer


Music Composer

Sound Designer

Miguel Najera (Lead)

Maria Ignacia Hojas (Lead)

Paloma Lingwei Chen (Story by)

Navaneeth Balasubramanian

Brianna Brown (Screenplay by) 

Mengtao Sun

Sylvia Jingqi Cong

Sylvia Jingqi Cong

Miro Kepinski

Matt Somogyi


Hi! Shorts 厦门短片周

Xiamen, China 

Dec 14th - Dec22nd, 2020

Pasadena International Film Festival

Pasadena, CA, USA 

Oct 19th-Nov1st, 2020

SOHO International Film Festival

Oct 15th -22nd, 2020

New York, NY, USA 

21st Newport Beach Film Festival

Oct 1st -11th, 2020

Newport Beach, CA, USA 

Orlando International Film Festival

Orlando, FL, USA 

Sep 15th -25th, 2020
Enzian Theater

Houston Latino Film Festival

Houston, TX, USA 

March 19th - 21st, 2020
Canceled due to COVID-19

26th Sedona International Film Festival

Sedona, AZ, USA 

Sun, Feb 23rd - 1pm, 2020
Location: Sedona - Harkins 1

42nd Mill Valley Film Festival

San Rafael, CA, USA 

Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Smith Rafael Film Center


Retirement hits everyone differently. For many, it means the loss of social recognition and readjustment of one's social status. It creates a void of purpose in life and can take one a long time to regain balance. This is only harder for a man whose identity is formed through his profession. 

I witnessed how my father’s involuntary retirement slowly consumed his confidence as well as marginalized him from the family. I wanted to make a film where the audience experiences the insecurity a man goes through during this process. 


El Perfumista is shot in California, but the visuals are actually inspired by my childhood memories of Jaca, Spain. That's where I used to spend my summer vacations with my Tia Carmen, who had a big house in the mountains of Los Pirineos, Nothern Spain. I was lucky for being able to replicate the splendid cedar forests and the Spanish house in the film. I set out for a visually nostalgic and poetic tone and used the cello as the only instrument in the scoring to portray the gradual progression of the mental state our protagonist goes through.

Perfume making is filled with textures, patterns, and colors, yet, it is mysterious for its connection to the sense of smell. It is an invisible art. What happens if one loses his sense of smell? Can he still be a perfumer if he can’t smell anymore? How hard is it to accept such a big loss? How painful, or joyful, is it for a father to see his child reaching his level of success and not being needed anymore? I want this film to answer these questions.

                          - Paloma Lingwei Chen -

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Miguel Nájera


María Ignacia Hojas

Veteran award-winning filmmaker, Miguel Nájera, for over 40 years has honed his craft as an actor, writer, director, and producer. Movie acting credits include Nick of time with Johnny Depp and Virtuosity with Russell Crowe. TV series credits include The First with Sean Penn, East Los High, The Mentalist, Private Practice, CSI: Miami, Saving Grace, The Shield, 24, Lincoln Heights, and Alias among many others. Miguel wrote and directed the award-winning short, “Libertad,” that screened to critical acclaim at WGBH Boston as part of their Latino film series and at DreamWorks as part of their in house film series. His current feature film project, as a producer, is scheduled to film in Spain’s Canary Islands at the end of 2019 early 2020.

María Ignacia Hojas is an actress from Santiago, Chile, who moved to Los Angeles four years ago to pursue what she loves most: telling stories. She graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is well known for her passion and commitment to her creative ideas and projects. María enjoys acting, writing, dancing, practicing yoga and meditation. She is convinced there is a deep connection between meditation, creativity, acting, and life itself: being mindful and vulnerable, she says, is what makes the journey worthwhile and real.


Tracy Kowalski


Tanya Raisa


Manny Hernandez


Revital Schmid

Allyson Juliette

Andrew Morrison


This is a Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Graduate Thesis, shot in California in 2019. The picture on the left was taken during a pre-production team during a location scout near Big Bear Lake in September 2018

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Paloma Lingwei Chen 陈令玮



Born and raised in Beijing, Paloma grew up bilingual with a Spanish father and a Chinese mother. Her first job as a video journalist for Guangzhou Daily, one of the most popular newspapers in Southern China, gave her the opportunity to travel across the country producing and directing food shows as well as other docu-style series. Paloma earned her MFA in Film Production from Chapman University, Dodge College of film and media art, and was mentored by Oscar Award-winning screenwriter David S. Ward (The Sting). Currently, she’s a director/producer for a Chinese media company based in LA.

Born and raised in India, Navaneeth is a passionate Film and Television Producer who believes stories can transform lives. Before moving to the US, Navaneeth was fortunate to work on shows such as Neengalum Vellelam Oru Kodi (a Licensed regional adaptation of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?), Super Singer and several other prestigious award shows and music concerts in India and abroad. Navaneeth worked as a Producer in STAR Television Networks (Subsidiary of 21st  Century Fox) for nearly four years. He is currently specializing in content development, acquisition and production focusing extensively in India and the US markets. 

Navaneeth Balasubramanian



Mengtao Sun 孙梦涛

Director of Cinematography


Brianna Brown



Sylvia Cong 丛婧婍

Editor/Production Designer

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Miro Kepinski


Born and raised in Nanjing, China, Mengtao found his passion for storytelling at the age of 16. For 10 years, he has been working as a cinematographer, writer, and director. He prides himself for his ability to help design and complete an original but also consistent visual language for every film by carefully planning every single shot. Among all the aesthetic schools, he finds himself most connected with formalism. He is an official nominee of 2019 ASC heritage award. He has an MFA in Film Production, Cinematography emphasis from Chapman University. 

Brianna Brown is a Chapman University trained MFA film and television writer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Growing up in a single parent home and struggling financially, for her, success wasn’t just a goal but a means of survival. Being the first in her family to complete high school, earn a college degree, and receive a master’s taught her that defying the odds is possible. Along her screenwriting journey, Brianna has worked under the Oscar-winning screenwriters of BlacKkKlansman. She was also lucky enough to be mentored by former Saturday Night Live head writer, Barry Blaustein (Coming to AmericaNutty Professor). As a black woman, Brianna strives to tell stories that genuinely represent people of color and promote underrepresented narratives.

As an editor, Sylvia has stored rich experiences dealing with different forms of media such as short films, documentaries, commercials, music videos, and experimental media. In 2015, Sylvia directed and edited her first short documentary "Exploring Oaxaca", a journey of art and culture in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. A year later, she worked as the assistant to famous Polish new media artist Miroslaw Rogala. Together they created multiple media art series including "Analog to Digital" for his solo retrospective exhibition in Warsaw, 2017. While pursuing her MFA in Film Production, Sylvia has edited films that have been selected to multiple film festivals and awards including the Student Academy Award.

Born in Poland, juggling between Poland and Los Angeles, Miro Kepinski is a film composer, producer, and performer. His recent works include features Lord Finn, Hyper Dark or In This Gray Place that comes out June 25th by Gravitas Ventures. Currently, Miro is involved in the production of a feature documentary 'Indomitable' directed by his fellow director Alexander Freeman, co-produced by Kevin Bright ('Friends') and narrated by an Academy Award winner Chris Cooper ('Adaptation'). His music mixes minimalism with classic sounds ranging from electronic to orchestra.

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