We had the good fortune of connecting with Soma Helmi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Soma, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I grew up with artist parents – my mom was a jeweler and my dad a photographer. They instilled a curiosity about creative art and I really wanted to keep pursuing it. I also can’t imagine doing anything else now. The idea that as a filmmaker I can transform what was once a figment of imagination into something everyone can watch on their screens, is somewhat magical!
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 got to where I am by a circuitous path. I started in graphic design, then was an art director in an advertising firm and then finally found my way to becoming a filmmaker. It hasn’t been the easiest, especially becoming a director. There’s a lot of challenges women face in general in the work force, but I think filmmakers especially are faced with a complex set of boundaries that are really hard to overcome. So I’ve had to really be persistent, driven. I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else than direct, so I have to stay the course. One of my biggest learnings through all the years is that one of the most important things is to be kind. Be kind to others, especially on a working set, and to be kind to yourself. This industry is hard enough, leant to be gentle with yourself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Walk around Pasadena Old town, grab some lunch or dinner in one of the many restaurants that have lovely outdoor patios.
Drive up to the Angeles National Forest.
Visit cool shops in The Row DTLA.
Have dim sum in Arcadia and Indonesian food at Wong Java.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost. I think my sisterhood of female filmmakers has been instrumental in keeping my head on straight, especially this past year. Some come from organizations like Alliance of Women Directors, Film Fatales and Blackmagic Collective and others are friends I’ve met along the way. They are always the first to step forward if any support is needed. The other group has been the wonderful AAPI community, in LA especially, who have been so welcoming and encouraging! Together we rise!