Abey Lin combats prejudice surrounding coronavirus in short film ‘Catching Love’

Abey Lin/Courtesy

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Young filmmaker Abey Lin released his moving short film, “Catching Love,” on Feb. 19 to fight the recent paranoia caused by the global coronavirus outbreak. The filmmaker created this project, which underlines the humanity of all individuals, in collaboration with his sister, Sabrina Lin. As stated by the creators in the video’s description, this film serves as a statement against the racialized prejudice the outbreak has sparked, reminding viewers to treat everyone with love and kindness. 

The film’s title is a clever play on words, inverting the negative connotations of “catching,” which indicates contracting an illness, to something positive and lighthearted. Abey suggests that, just as humans can catch diseases and be affected by the negative circumstances around them, they can also benefit from the spread of love and kindness, ultimately catching something good. 

The film begins minimalistically with a few strains of an emotional piano piece, composed by Abey, before showing several people smiling at the camera. The cinematography is personal and intimate, highlighting each person’s subtle facial details in black and white to further emphasize the individuality. The video’s subjects look directly at the camera, engaging with the viewer in a manner that is both powerful and vulnerable. Abey includes a diverse range of interviewees from all ages and backgrounds to depict the immense, beautiful multiplicity of human nature. 

The video then unfolds to reveal a strong and resonant message. Each person says their name and lists defining qualities about themselves, reflecting how everyone has different conceptions of their own identity. A man named Stephen, for instance, tells the viewers he is a father, while Lucia shares that she is a singing teacher and Jeffrey says, “I am a sensitive, loving person.” Clearly, people are more than what their appearances suggest — more than just another person on the street. 

The interviewees also repeat sentences such as “I am not a virus,” “I am a human” and “We are all human.” These mantras provide a call for resistance against many people’s tendency to panic and blame others during globally turbulent moments. Instead, the film suggests that people must remind themselves of what they have in common, striving toward positivity and love. Toward the video’s end, the subjects’ voices interlace to form a kind of chant, with a montage of everyone smiling and laughing ending the scene. 

Overall, the video’s understated cinematography and subtle musical score illustrate its deeply emotional nature and allow the people within it to shine through. As a whole, the film is a potent defense against the hysteria the coronavirus has caused and provides a new, much-needed outlook on the current situation. The key to defeating adversity, as the film proves, is to stand together as a community and foster an atmosphere of affection and appreciation, not fear.

Contact Luna Khalil at [email protected].