Into the Third Dimension- Khomanta
Screengrabs talks to director Fiorella Pomarino and digital fashion designer Bahar Ergul on the short film Khomanta
“Khomanta, is a word in Aymara and it means a hug. So, it’s basically a hug from all the cultures in my country,” says Peruvian creative Fiorella Pomarino who directed the short film titled in the Ayamara language.
Pomarino has been working as an art director since 2015 and does not limit herself to one medium or project. Over the past few years she has produced, styled and directed, exploring different themes such as Peruvian identities and womanhood in her work. “I’m more a facilitator of my culture. If I’m doing a film in Cusco, I will try to have the casting from Cusco and I will try to respect what they want to say. I try to respect those things, not just take the idea and do it. That’s really important for me.”
The visually stunning 3D short film (which is available on Nowness) takes viewers on a journey of fashion, symbolism, Peruvian cultures and landscapes. By incorporating the work of Peruvian designers Annaiss Yucra, Edward Mendoza, Mauricio Cabrera, Paulo and Roberto Ruiz Muñoz, Pomarino dives into 3D filmmaking, a new medium for the fashion industry.
As part of her masters at London College of Fashion, Pomarino knew she wanted to highlight Peruvian cultures through film, but her initial idea changed because of pandemic limitations. At first, she asked her friends if they could send photos they liked that focused on Peru. “I started to make a big photo library of Peru including food, landscapes, festivals, anything, and I saw a photo of a festival. I developed a script about that festival, but because the pandemic came, and I couldn’t film that specific project, I changed it.”
Process photo of landscape and props, made via Unreal with the colour changes made by the art director. Image courtesy of Fiorella Pomarino from the film Khomanta.
Pomarino narrates how Khomanta came to be made, as she stayed in London during Covid. “I started to talk to designers from Peru. They became my friends. Because I’m an art director, I started to create some drawings of how the vision should look, and then I contacted a studio back home. I pitched this idea, and they were like okay let’s do it. They actually don’t do 3D, they only do 2D. Then we started doing it and it worked!”
Pomarino worked with Peruvian studio Apus, and the whole process took about six months. This was her first time working in this medium and since 3D was also new to the industry, this project was quite the learning experience. “They explained to me the whole process - the drawings, rigging, shading, simulation.”
“I wanted to pick designers that were talking about Peruvian culture in a different way, and they had a story to tell.” - Fiorella Pomarino
The designers Pomarino spoke to were chosen for the film because of the themes represented in their work. “I wanted to pick designers that were talking about Peruvian culture in a different way, and they had a story to tell,” she explains. “Annaïs [Yucra] talks about womanhood. She talks about domestic violence and women’s rights. She also casts women, non-binary people and people that identify as women. The three designers were doing kind of the same thing so that’s why I chose them. I wanted to talk about young Peruvian fashion designers.”
One of Pomarino’s favourite designs in Khomanta is the Vulva Dress shown at the beginning of the film and a black long-sleeved shirt with Te Quiero Mamá written on the front. “It’s I love you mum. When you say you love your country it’s because you love your mum. So that’s why I chose that one. I love my country, I love my mum, I love earth,” she expresses.
“The braids represent the artisan women who work in the mountains, and they have low resources, but they’re really good with the textiles. I put them in the film as a thank you.” - Fiorella Pomarino
Viewers should pay close attention to the details of the film. Pomarino shares the natural and urban landscapes of Khomanta, from city streets to mountains. “Peru has three main different landscapes which are the coast, the mountains, and the jungle, so I tried to merge everything together. For example, in the first landscape, the dress is dancing a Peruvian dance from the North Coast. The North Coast is a beach, but I tried to put the dance with the mountains, so everything talks with everything. The design that says Te Quiero Mamá is on a specific street in Lima. It’s one of the most dangerous streets in the capital and I really like it because the walls of those houses are very colourful, even though in the film they are not. They have a lot of wires going between the houses and it’s very messy, so I really liked that. In a way I was saying, even though it’s not pretty for you, it could work in a pretty way for a film. And the last scene, you have the braids with the flowers and there is yellow silk. And it’s just taking bits from different Peruvian cultures around the country. The braids represent the artisan women who work in the mountains, and they have low resources, but they’re really good with the textiles. I put them in the film as a thank you.”
Process photo of the avatar dancing in Unreal. Image courtesy of Fiorella Pomarino from the film Khomanta.
As for symbolism, this was Pomarino’s starting point as an art director. She begins to describe the details in the film, “because I’m from Lima, I wanted to show a little bit of Lima as well, but I didn’t want to show the prettiest things. For example, the Virgin Mary is on a moto taxi, and it’s surrounded by balloons. There’s a place in Lima called Chorrillos and they use a tuk tuk. They’re very picturesque.”
Around March 2020, digital fashion design and concept creator, Bahar Ergul, was contacted by Pomarino to work on Khomanta. With an interest in technology and design, Ergul says she was exposed to 3D and coding during school. Since beginning her digital journey, Ergul has worked with Adidas, LVMH and others, further proving how fashion is constantly moving in the direction of the exciting metaverse. “My role in the film was to correctly digitize the clothes and accessories designed by Peruvian designers and make them suitable for the animation step,” Bahar explains, mentioning that she spent nearly four weeks digitizing the designers’ creations.
“The digital world gives us the tools and place to show our creativity. Try to increase technical awareness without forgetting to nurture your own creativity and curiosity.” -Bahar Ergul
Ergul also provides advice for those who want to work in digital fashion. “The digital world gives us the tools and place to show our creativity. Try to increase technical awareness without forgetting to nurture your own creativity and curiosity. Being a digital designer requires a lot of technical knowledge.” It is crucial to protect one’s creative identity through the process, she adds.
All the hard work resulted in an incredible film that garnered the attention of festivals and platforms. “I wasn’t expecting anything of what happened with the film,” Pomarino says. “I pitched it to Nowness and they liked it. They were like this is great, we haven’t seen this before.” She goes on to describe what happened after the premiere of the film on the platform and how her friends reacted. “They were really proud that a Peruvian was on Nowness, showing Peruvian culture. That was really nice.” Khomanta also won the 3D digital film category in the ASVOFF festival in Paris.
“It opened a new world for me: 3D, animation, NFTs, metaverse. Now if I need to do a film, I don’t think that the only way to do it is with a camera.” - Fiorella Pomarino
Process photo showcasing the director’s notes and suggestions in regard to the colour of chairs and additional flowers. Image courtesy of Fiorella Pomarino from the film Khomanta.
Pomarino has many plans and a few films already in post-production exploring a multitude of themes. She is also painting, learning to tattoo and wants to continue to be involved in the conversation surrounding the metaverse. “It opened a new world for me: 3D, animation, NFTs, metaverse. Now if I need to do a film, I don’t think that the only way to do it is with a camera. Now I know I can do it in in 2D, 3D, analogue, whatever format I want to use.”
The ASVOFF festival in Paris has also inspired Pomarino to work on a big project in her home country: developing a fashion film festival in Peru and a production collective, which she is currently working on with a fellow creative and friend.
“I just wanted to show that we can also do it, we can also make really cool designs, we’re not only about raw materials and textiles; we can do 3D as well, we can be on Nowness, we could be recognized even though we are really far away of everything,” she explains.
“Showcasing different designers, doing all the 3D in a studio from Peru, that was really important for me as well,” Pomarino concludes. “Just to show them that we can also do it, that we’re part of the conversation. Not just ‘oh we have really nice materials let’s go and take the pictures and design them in another country’. No. We can do the whole thing as well. That was really important for me to show them – them as in the world.”
Process photo of landscape and model before adding details. Image courtesy of Fiorella Pomarino from the film Khomanta.
Watch Khomanta on Nowness.com here
Directed by: Fiorella Pomarino
Executive Producer: Gabriel Bonilla @gabobo10
General Supervisor- Line producer: Manu Larios
Storyboard: Fiorella Pomarino
Layout Artist - Editor: Manu Larios
Art Direction: Fiorella Pomarino
Color Script: Michael Yantas
Digital Garment Designer: 3Dressmaker- Bahar Ergul @3dressmaker
Modeling-Texture-Shading: Elviz Lopez + Grecco Valera + Alesandra Miro Quesada @bad.grandpa + Johan Wilson Reyes
Animation: Alesandra Miro Quesada @bad.grandpa
Mocap System: Target 3D Studio @target3d_ltd
Simulation: Diego Alvarez + Alesandra Miro Quesada
Sets – Ilumination – Render: Alex Saldaña Llontop
Music Design: Kevin Chepe @quebienchepe
Colour Grading: Eduardo Arriagada "Wawin" @wawin
The designers: Annaiss Yucra + Edward Mendoza + Mauricio Cabrera + Paulo and Roberto Ruiz Muñoz (D.N.I)
@warpigwonder @annaissyucra @dni_official @_macalo