‘Aftermask’: Documentary about local’s mask efforts premieres Monday

The movie poster for "Aftermask," a documentary film about Santa Clarita resident AJ Apone 3D printing masks and donating them to frontline healthcare workers and first responders. Photo courtesy of "Aftermask."

The Santa Clarita Valley resident and founder of The Mask Initiative is the focal point of a mini documentary being released on Monday, a film that will showcase his journey in 3D printing masks at the onset of the pandemic. 

The 8-minute film, titled “Aftermask,” directed by Candian filmmaker Anton Josef, follows AJ Apone, a Newhall resident, and his effort to create HEPA-certified filters in reusable masks he 3D-printed in his garage. 

Apone then donated the masks to front-line health care workers and first responders throughout the pandemic, providing them with much-needed personal protective equipment that was in short supply during the onset of the coronavirus response. 

AJ Apone being interviewed about 3D printing masks and donating them to frontline healthcare workers and first responders. Photo courtesy of “Aftermask.”

“It’s just kind of the storyline of what was going on basically, like coming up with the idea to 3D-print the masks, and then the outreach to the locals, the call to arms and then getting it done,” said Apone. 

Josef told Apone that he had recently moved to the local area from Canada, read Apone’s story in The Signal and then reached out to Apone about making the Santa Clarita resident the focal point of his film.

Through a series of donations from the public and private companies, Apone’s operation — with aid of his father, family and community volunteers — went from two printers to 20 printers, which allowed him to reduce his mask-making time from three-and-a-half hours to just two, and from completing 12 per day to more than 150.

The 3D printed masks before a filter is placed in them. Photo courtesy of “Aftermask.”

In total, Apone created just shy of 4,000 masks that were all freely given to those health care workers and emergency personnel in need of them most.

“It was a time that forced us to be a community again,” said Apone, “it was like we were all rallying behind the same idea.” 

The movie ‘Aftermask’ will be available on Vimeo.com starting Monday.
For more information: https://www.themaskinitiative.com.

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