We had the good fortune of connecting with Fernanda Belmar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fernanda, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
People, to be more specific my mom and my friends, without them I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. I always have dreamt of coming to the U.S. to study, and then when I found out my passion for filmmaking they always supported me. Pursuing any kind of art is extremely challenging. You can have all the confidence in the world but there’s always a time in life where you doubt yourself, at least I do, I often have those moments where I think I should do better, or I’m probably not good enough at this, and I should just give up, but in those moments is where my friends and my mom reminds me that I have to keep going because even when I don’t believe in me, they do. My success is not just my passion, my creativity, and perseverance, it is also the people who are behind me, who inspire me, and who motivate me to create opportunities for myself. To summarize, my success is me and all the people behind me.
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.
I am a woman, I am Latina, I am gay, and I was raised by a single mother, my grandma, and my aunt. All of that is part of who I am as a person and as an artist. My favorite genre is drama, the one that feels very real, so all of the stories I write and direct are close to what I’ve experienced. Every time I have an idea, I can physically feel it’s a story I have to write about, otherwise, it becomes just another idea. So, for me to physically feel it means I am related or connected someway somehow to the story. Right now I am about to graduate from my master of fine arts in filmmaking, and it has been a hell of a ride. I didn’t have the money to pay for school, so there were a lot of bumps in the way. I had to take a semester off, then I had to withdraw from school for another semester, go back to Chile, come back here, but I am finally in my last semester. During all this process one of the biggest challenges was me questioning if I took the right decision following my dream. There have been a few times I felt my dream was stupid because it felt almost impossible, and I questioned why do I have to have a dream like this one. A few days ago I was feeling that way and I told my best friend that I don’t feel special, I asked her why I didn’t just have stayed with my bachelor’s and my job, why did I want to become more than that, and my best friend told me “people like us – the one that doesn’t have money – are not allowed to dream, but you are special, and I understand you don’t feel that way, but you are.” That hit me hard because is true. When you come from a low-income place dreams are not there to make them true, because is hard, because the opportunities are minimum, or none at all. So you have to have a lot of perseverance and help to create opportunities for yourself but it’s easier said than done. So, if there is a lesson I have learned so far is that I need to ask for help when I need to. I need to reach out to people and open opportunities for myself, when all the doors and windows are closed I have to dig deep into myself and asked again why my dream is worth it. These past 2 years were a little bit dark for me, but the experiences I went through during this time inspired me to write Loving Autumn, a very cathartic, personal, and emotional short film where Autumn is challenged to look back to her younger self and question if her life choices are making that little girl inside her happy. I am trying to raise funds to make this short film that I want the world to see, but again a part of me feels it’s almost impossible to raise the money I need, and another part of me, a bigger one knows I’m going to find a way and that I have a lot of people who has my back, and will help me to make this film happen. If there is something that I want the world to know about me is that I don’t give up, no matter what life throws at me, my dreams, my stories, who I am, and who I want to be in the future are worth it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
On the first day of the trip, I would take them to Hollywood, to see the movie part of L.A. We’d go to the Hollywood sign, and then we would get dinner at Mambo’s cafe in Burbank, to end the night driving at the Mulholland Drive. I would take them to buy coffee at Priscilla’s in Toluca Lake and drinking them at Buena Vista Park (my favorite place to sit down and write stories). At night we would go to Downtown Burbank to walk around and eat at Kopan Ramen’s We would go for a walk to Griffith Park, and at night we would go to parties in West Hollywood, going to all the bars around, specially Flaming Saddles, Micky’s, and get drinks at Fiesta Cantina. I would dedicate a day in downtown L.A. especially to go around El Pueblo de Los Angeles. I would also spend a whole day in Santa Monica and another day in Venice Beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to girls & scouts Newen Kamapu of San Bernardo, Chile. For over 8 years between my childhood and teenage years I learned about teamwork and leadership, they taught me incredible values that I always keep with me. Shoutout to Instituto Profesional Santo Tomás, in San Joaquín where I did my bachelor’s in Digital Audivosiual Communication, in that school I found my passion for film, and it was the first place where I ever wrote and directed a short film. My classmates and Instructors helped me shape what kind of filmmaker I want to be. Shoutout to MG Consulting, the first official job I have as an Audiovisual Communicator, Tati believed that I can bring something new to the company, which opened many opportunities for me. Special thanks to my coworkers who taught me so much about composition, editing, and after fx, specially Francisca, Josefina, Javier, and Daniela. Shoutout to the instructors and classmates of New York Film Academy who taught me so many new things about filmmaking, I am a better filmmaker now thanks to them. Shoutout to my family, Gite, tío Tito, and cousins for having my back. The biggest shoutout to my friends in Chile and the new friends I made here in L.A. for believe in me from day 1, for being such an incredible part of my journey, and see things in me that I didn’t even see for myself. And the last and most special shoutout for two of the most important people in my life: my mom, and Cono, my best friend. You both are my pillar.
Hugo Arvizu Fernanda Belmar Matteo Martignago