Meet Eugenia Renteria, The Mexican Director Behind ‘Amor en Cuarentena’

Photo courtesy of Eugenia Renteria
Photo courtesy of Eugenia Renteria

It’s been a little over two years since we were all urged to quarantine. Who remembers that initial feeling after reading the news on the lockdown? Though many saw it as a vacation, the uncertainty it brewed loomed over everyone’s heads, whether or not they would like to admit it. 

Without us realizing it, the way we socialized was changing. And many of our personal relationships have never looked the same. 

Eugenia Renteria, the director of “Amor en Cuarentena,” recalls the insufferable disconnect the pandemic created within dating.

Renteria, who was born in a rural community in Zacatecas, Mexico — and moved to California when she was 12 years old —  has always loved storytelling. She explored different majors and eventually landed in the Cinematic Arts and Technology department. Prior experiences led her to open her own production company, Inspira Studios, where she produces her own original stories while, at the same time, working with clients. 

Her knack for storytelling led her to materialize “Amor en Cuarentena” after a simple conversation with her friends. 

“I was hanging out with some friends [and] we were joking about how hard it was to date during quarantine because you needed to have FaceTime dates instead of face-to-face interactions,” Renteria tells BELatina News.

Shortly after, “Amor en Cuarentena” was born. Renteria wrote the film alongside Luis Aguirre. 

“Amor en Cuarentena” is set on the Central Coast, where the Spanglish series follows Emi, a Mexican-American teacher and hopeless romantic. The film dives into her journey as she looks for love virtually with the help of friends and family during a global pandemic. 

When we spoke to Renteria, we focused on the process of her creation. Find out more about it below.

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

How long did it take you to materialize the film? 

I remember telling Luis that I wanted us to write it as we usually talk, which is in Spanglish, and add some of our everyday jokes. Once we started our writing sessions, everything else happened naturally because we were writing about something that was authentic and real to us. I also asked my talented friend Karo to play Emi, to which she said yes – and she did it perfectly. We produced episode 1. Luis and I kept writing different episodes. So far, we have written five episodes. We just filmed episode 2 last month and are getting ready to film episode 3 over the summer. 

The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival is showing the “Amor en Cuarentena”
pilot episode. 

What were some of the challenges you faced while filming it? 

One of the challenges was filming this during COVID. We had a small crew of three people, including myself. We wanted to be safe. After filming, the episode sat in a hard drive for a while. On top of that, it was hard to find the motivation to edit a comedy episode when the world was falling apart. But –  little by little –  it came to life, and we kept writing “Amor en Cuarentena.” 

Do you think love during quarantine is a unique type of love? 

The initial idea was to focus completely on Emi’s dating life during the quarantine, but as we kept writing the other episodes, we started exploring love from many different angles. Quarantine made us appreciate a different type of love and connection with family and friends. At least for me, my parents and brothers finally had some “time-off,” and I was getting to know them all over again. Emi is finding love, but it’s coming from different places, not just from her dates. 

What do you hope this film delivers to the audience? 

I hope this film delivers a good laugh and that the audience sees a little bit of themselves in Emi, especially those, like me, that live life within two different languages: el inglés y el español – and all the bi-cultural craziness that comes with it. 

Anything else you’d like to share with the BELatina News audience? 

“Amor en Cuarentena” was born out of spare time, and with the help of my very talented friends, we were able to bring it to life. We incorporated parts of our everyday lives and hope the audience enjoys it as much as we do. 

Aside from “Amor en Cuarentena,” Eugenia Renteria is also currently producing two other documentaries.

What’s the short synopsis of “Amor en Cuarentena?”

“Amor en Cuarentena” is set on the Central Coast, where the Spanglish series follows Emi, a Mexican-American teacher and hopeless romantic who has tried every possible hobby to stay entertained during quarantine. While watching a rom-com, she decides it’s time to find love for herself. She asks her traditional Mexican mom and free-spirited friends for advice, ranging from online dating to el amor doesnʼt exist. Ultimately, this pushes Emi to explore how el amor may manifest in many forms all around her.