Worcester artist creates animated video for cinema proposal

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The animated video was created with over 2,000 individual illustrations.

Jonathan Holz and Julie Deoliveira attend Lux’s Showcase Blackstone Valley 14 Cinema. Holz decided to do his own animated preview to show in the theater when he proposed. Colleen McCormick Blair, Marlo Marketing

Julie didn’t want to go to the movies last Sunday. But as a fan of the Marvel franchise, she finally agreed to watch the movie, SHang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

“I went with a few of my girlfriends, and we were just spending the day and they wanted to see a movie,” said Julie Deoliveira, 25. “I was averse to seeing a movie – I was trying to beg them not to take me to the movies.”

But Deoliveira never learned the legend of the ten rings. She left with an engagement ring instead.

Watching the previews, Deoliveira thought she was watching the trailer for “a cute little romantic indie movie” until she recognized the handwriting and artistic style of the drawings on screen. They belonged to her boyfriend, Jonathan.

“I always want to impress you,” the video said in Jonathan’s handwriting. “Love you. To be with you forever… Julie, it’s time!

The video turned out to be a proposal video of her boyfriend, Jonathan Holz, 27, of Worcester, who was hidden a few rows behind her in the theater. All the theatergoers were Deoliveira’s family and friends hiding in the dark.

“Let’s go get that ring!” The video says in animated letters. The video then showed a cartoon Jonathan traveling to get the engagement ring – making stops for an accidental kick and a Nintendo Switch playing along the way.

Holz has been giving Julie little illustrations since they started dating three years earlier. They met as neighbors down the hall and were friends three years before dating.

“The first gift I gave her was an illustration for her,” Holz said. “And over the years, on every birthday and on Valentine’s Day, I would do a little bit of artwork, showing us both.”

But Holz wanted to outdo the illustrations. As a graphic design student, he decided to make an animated video, which Holz created using more than 2,000 individual drawings.

Two weeks before the proposal, Holz contacted Showcase Blackstone Valley 14 Cinema de Lux, a theater the couple regularly visit.

“I’ve been waiting for this since I’ve been here and as far as I know it hasn’t happened to us – at least to our knowledge – maybe it’s happening without our knowing it”, Mark Malinowski, vice president of global marketing for Showcase Cinemas, said. “This was one of those instances where we were actually involved, our staff were involved.”

Holz and Deoliveira pose with family and friends following the proposal.

After two weeks of planning – and one night when Holz faked a stomach issue to keep Julie away while he worked on the video – Showcase, Holz, his family and friends were able to come up with the proposal.

“I think it all worked out so perfectly… she kind of fell in love with it all,” Holz said.

At the end of the three-minute video and the lights coming on, Holz knelt down and proposed. Deoliveira said yes.

The couple are now planning their wedding for the summer of 2022. Showcase also gave the couple a year of free movies in theaters with a subscription and SHang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings merchandise.

“I was super nervous… at the same time, it felt like I felt like the right time, the right place and now is,” said Holz. “She’s the girl I love and I want to marry her.”


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