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Filipino SFX artist aims to ward off coronavirus with horror-inspired face masks

Reuters/Laguna, Philippines
Filed on June 20, 2020
Rene Abelardo, special effects, prosthetics, horror-inspired, masks, coronavirus, Covid-19, Philippines, Filipino Rene Abelardo, special effects, prosthetics, horror-inspired, masks, coronavirus, Covid-19, Philippines, Filipino

TV prosthetics artist Rene Abelardo mixes paint while his team prepares to mould prosthetic faces for orders of their quirky masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines, June 17, 2020.
(Reuters)

TV prosthetics artist Rene Abelardo tries on a sample of his prosthetic face mask, his latest creation as TV projects took a halt amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines, June 17, 2020.
(Reuters)

Prosthetics specialist Rene Abelardo has been jobless since March but is aiming to stay afloat by selling scary creations.

With film and television productions halted in the Philippines due to lockdown, one special effects artist is maximising his skills by making scary face masks to raise cash and a few smiles.

Prosthetics specialist Rene Abelardo, 50, has been out of work since March but hopes to stay afloat financially after discovering an appetite for the hand-made, horror-inspired masks that he initially created for fun.

With help from friends, Abelardo has sold dozens of the moulded masks, from monsters and zombies to the devil and the Joker. He is now receiving hundreds of orders from all over the Philippines.

The masks extend down to the jawline and up to the ears and are lined with a conventional cloth mask. They were an instant hit when they first appeared on social media, attracting thousands of likes and shares.

"I tried wearing the mask I made just for fun, and my daughter saw me and asked if she can take a picture and post it online," he said.

"A few hours later the post unexpectedly went viral, and the rest is history."

The Philippines has recorded more than 27,000 coronavirus cases and in affected areas has made the wearing of face masks mandatory.

Each mask takes up to three days to complete and Abelardo sells them for between 300-500 pesos (Dh22-Dh37) per piece.

"We started making more masks since we currently don't have jobs. It's still money coming in and it makes people happy."

Meanwhile, the Philippines on Friday reported 661 new Covid-19 cases, taking the country's tally past 28,000.

The Philippines Department of Health reported in a statement 460 more infections, with tests results released within three days, whereas test results of additional 201 cases were released after more than four days.

It added that 14 more people died due to the disease.

In total, 1,130 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 so far in the island state, while 7,378 patients have recovered.

The Philippines has also reported 28,459 confirmed cases of the novel virus.


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