Director Ruben Cortez on Making 'The Heartbreak Series'


By Jessica Munoz

A year after going through a serious breakup, director Ruben Cortez found himself healed and wanting to share a visual representation of the unavoidable journey after heartbreak. What he created was The Heartbreak Series, a non-scripted YouTube series that combines dark imagery, expressive movement and music. In less than four minutes, my heart was already aching for both the panicked broken-hearted leading lady and her remorseful ex-lover. 

We're looking forward to parts II and III, which will be coming soon. In the meantime, we got to chat with Ruben about the series.


What is The Heartbreak Series about?

The series is a three part visual journey which follows the final stages of a relationship coming to an end. The collection focuses on the prolonged journey that really does come with saying goodbye. Sometimes it's not easy to cut someone out of your life. Walking away from someone you love can feel like a road of push and pull.

Why did you make it?

I wanted to tell the story of the breakup, the closure and of all the feelings in between. It was also very important to me to tell the story from both perspectives; of the heartbreaker and the heartbroken. At the end, both realize that they must let each other go completely in order to move on with their lives.

The heartbreaker will usually hold onto their lover in order to preserve a sense of familiarity, or because of a fear of the unknown or a fear of losing someone. While the heartbroken is left in a dark place, having to struggle to scrape for that piece that is now missing. It isn't until both let each other go completely that they are able to continue their own lives.   

My hope is that for anyone going through a breakup and has not allotted themselves space to grow from their situation, will watch this series and realize that there is a necessary journey and a transformation to be made once a relationship ends. The one caveat is that that person must make the effort to let go.

Tell us about your decision to portray the piece in black and white, and to set the piece in water.

I know from personal experience, the very first moment one feels like they are losing the person they love, it feels as if they are suffocating in emotions. I wanted to use the water to capture that initial feeling of suffocation. I chose to keep the piece black and white to make sure that the audience understood that the initial part of a heartbreak is a cold and an uninviting place where love can not flourish. 

What have you learned about mending heartbreak in the making of this series?

In order to mend, you have to understand yourself and also come to terms with the other person's feeling - even if you aren't happy with it. Once that happens, you gain the knowledge to take the proper steps towards your future. 

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself the last time you were really heartbroken, what would you say to that version of yourself?

I would definitely tell myself to trust time and realize the significance happening during the healing. I would remind myself to be patient with all the emotions I felt during the process and learn to love myself unconditionally instead of focusing my energy on negative emotions. I would also advise myself to learn to stand my ground - absolutely no reconnecting with my ex! But most importantly, I would comfort myself by reminding me that there's a beauty that comes with a storm: life becomes beautiful when you push yourself to change and grow.  

When does it launch and how do we watch it?

Each part of the series will launch consecutively and part one is available on my youtube channel now! We are currently in pre-production for the final two and I'm very excited to have those up in the upcoming month. You can follow updates with everything going on with the series through my Instagram @heartbreakseries. 

Thank you so much for sharing your time with us. We can't wait for part two!

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Jessica Munoz

Jessica is a writer living in Venice Beach. Her guilty pleasure is food competition shows.

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