We had the good fortune of connecting with Amalia Santa Maria and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amalia, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
To me being in a traditional 9-5 job has always personally meant the death of my soul. We are born with a set amount of time. The idea of me giving away my time (that I will never get back) to someone that I may not even know is unbearable. So pursuing an artistic career has always been the only answer for me. It’s what makes me feel alive and enables me to fully embrace the magic that is the human experience. Leading a creative career I am able to have a different awareness of the world.
However, artistic and creative careers don’t come without risks or difficulties. Early in my career, every time I’d tell a friend I was going to pursue the arts they’d go off on me: “But how are you gonna make a living?!”, “Do you even have connections?”, “Why?”. So early on I became what I now call a “closeted artist”, someone who still does their thing but just doesn’t tell anyone about it. I knew that if I talked about it too much with my friends and family who all had regular jobs and were sensible things like lawyers, I’d be steered away from my path.
In the end, to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. As Elizabeth Gilbert once said, “whatever life you choose to live, I truly believe the secret to finding your purpose is to answer this question in total honesty: what’s your favorite flavor of shit-sandwich?” Every pursuit no matter how glamorous it may seem comes with its own brand of shit-sandwich, meaning all the lousy side effects. Everything sucks some of the time. But when it’s for something that makes your soul sing, you will always do it no matter the side effects.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work explores female narratives, magical realism, and mythology. Most recently, I directed an experimental short film that was a finalist at the Oniros International Film Festival and official selection at Venice Shorts, which I’m very excited about! In the fall, I will direct a sci-fi short I wrote and will star in.
Unlike other industries, artistic careers don’t have a set path. You have to make it up as you go and see what works for you. This is both liberating and overwhelming. Additionally, because of the collective nature of filmmaking you can’t just do it yourself in your home studio like other art forms. You have to find your team. To me finding the right people to work with has been a challenge because they have to fit the project you’re bringing to life on so many levels. This has been especially difficult for me because I haven’t stuck to a single location. I like to move around a lot so inevitably I have to change my team members as I go. Even though this is a challenging part of my work it also makes it exciting and I get to meet the most incredible people along the way and build a global network.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting I would begin by taking her to my favorite spot: The Huntington. These gorgeous gardens are the most magical place I’ve been to in LA. There are several types of gardens you can walk through and enjoy especially when the roses are blooming. Did you know The Huntington has its signature rose it genetically created?! Also, the library has some amazing copies of ancient works that are world-renowned. Lastly, the gift store is the best and I can’t get enough goodies there.
The next day we’d buy some picnic food at Trader Joe’s and do the 2.5 hour drive to Vasquez rocks. The geological formations are stunning to behold! And not only are they incredible to look at, once you’re at the top of one of the rocks you can see miles of the arid landscape. Once we head back from Vasquez rocks we’d wrap the day up with delicious warm ramen at Tatsu on Melrose Street.
On day three we’d do the classic Santa Monica Pier visit. After walking around the pier we would have lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in the area: Blue Plate Taco. Once we’re done with the delicious food, we’d head over to rent rollerblades and go all the way to Venice along the beach taking in the gorgeous ocean view.
The following day we’d take it easy and head over to a Korean Spa. There we would have time to relax and recharge after a few days of running around the city. Whenever we get hungry we would enjoy the delicious Korean bbq most spas offer in their dining area.
Finally, we would wrap up the week at Malibu Ranch. There we would enjoy a wonderful brunch and afterward, we would go around enjoying the various games the place has to offer.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Women in Film, Los Angeles for it’s giving mentorship
Andrés Quigua Ryan Houchin