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Meet Citlalli Beltran of Somnium Films

Today we’d like to introduce you to Citlalli Beltran.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
There is no surefire way to explain the power of film. I’ve tried theorizing how moving pictures can make people laugh and weep and how they can evoke so much emotion. All I understood was that stepping out of a movie theatre made me feel conscious and alive. When the lights faded on and the shadows began to move toward the exit, I was one of those people to stay and watch the credits roll. Everyone assumed I was waiting for an alternate ending. Nope. I was just trying to read all the names. It was inconceivable the number of people involved in making a piece of art.

One day when I arrived at the lobby after watching a certain film, everybody was still talking about the movie, about the music, and the story, people were even crying. It felt as if I was in the middle of a melting pot of emotions. My brother found me and I told him, “I want this. This is how I want to make people feel” he simply asked me why, and I answered, “because I have all the opportunities in the world to create something. Anything.” and since then, I’ve always wanted that “something” to be film.

Quickly that love for film turned into a love for event videography & even started to include the art of photography. I began to view the act of filmmaking and photography not only as the beauty of capturing stories that were fictional but I began to see the beauty in capturing real-life events. I now not only had the responsibility of creating the visual elements of a video, but I had the responsibility of eliciting a specific feeling or belief in my clients. I perceived event videography and photography as something much more universal, as something that wasn’t just “pretty pictures”, something that served more purpose than just solely to entertain.

That’s what brought me to where I am today. Now I have a degree in cinematography, and therefore someone who understands that media production is one of the most amazing unmatched gifts of storytelling. It allows me to be unobstructed, and to be limitless in a professional environment, and to therefore provide my clients with high-quality photos and videos that aren’t just aesthetically pleasing to the eye but something that really does evoke prominent emotions in the viewer and forever encapsulates a memory through film or photo.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My profession has definitely come with a lot of obstacles and struggles along the way. My business has confronted a scope of different challenges, but one of the biggest had to be putting a “price tag” on my work and understanding my professional value. It was such a stressful moment in my life having to sort out how much to charge for my services and it still is when I’m presented with new opportunities. In the beginning, I was exceptionally scared to put any kind of cost on my work since I was persuaded that it would discourage individuals from wanting my services. I’d want to charge a low rate because I felt that it would bring me more clients and to a certain extent, it did however I immediately understood that I genuinely wasn’t making any income and I was starting to exhaust myself. I began to assess my own performance and skills and quickly discovered that my work was worth more, but finding the balance between being reasonable and understanding my professional self-worth was truly challenging. Presently it is something that I, fortunately, comprehend, however my business is constantly growing and it seems like every day I’m given another test, but I always remind myself that I can conquer struggles, gain from the battles, and grow from my mistakes. This allows me to be more prepared for the next obstacle and accept that occasionally I grow more in difficult situations than when everything is smooth sailing.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Somnium Films?
Lots of people say that the eyes are the window to the human spirit, well I think the same way about a camera. I’ve always said a camera acts as the human eye. “Somnium” is originally a Latin word signifying “dream” and that is exactly what my mission is as a filmmaker and photographer. To encapsulate the most important moments in one’s life through moving or still images, almost as if they’re transported back through a dream or a flashback.

Somnium Films offers videography, photography, and post-production services. The features include some of the most excellent equipment and technology: cameras, mics, lenses, etc. We also provide production services which include location shoots, interviews, audio recordings, and more. This ensures that every client has high-quality images and audio that satisfy their needs.

The Post-production features include some of the best editing and color grading software. We are able to add text and logos and color grade, we can sound design, edit music, and finally deliver the tape or photos to the client in whatever aspect ratio they choose. Regardless of whether it’s only a highlight reel of the occasion or a long and definite video of most of the event, or even just photos, Somnium Films is devoted to passing on genuine emotion and significance behind the footage and images.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
I’ve learned a substantial amount from the COVID-19 crisis. However, I believe the most beneficial thing I’ve learned is how to be resourceful. Before the pandemic, I would rely solely on renting out equipment from different companies. However, when the virus finally arrived in Colorado, I was no longer able to do that. This really kicked me into gear because without that equipment, I only had one DSLR camera, a half-broken tripod, and one standard light to work with. I was missing c-stands, monitors, gimbals, etc. I was scared out of my mind, but that’s what forced me to be more creative and make do with what I had in order to face the constraints and obstacles in front of me. This situation allowed me to become more in tune with my camera, to really know the ins and outs in order to obtain the best possible outcome with the gear I actually had. It also made me realize that I was getting too comfortable with the equipment and camera I was renting out and knocked it into me that I needed to be exploring other cameras and gear. Working with this gear that I had hardly touched for years taught me to improve my abilities and skills and learn more about the art of filmmaking and photography in general, but most importantly, it taught me how to adapt and therefore quickly react and respond efficiently to changes. I’m very thankful for everything that I have learned and have continued to learn during the pandemic despite all of the hardships my business went through.

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