Santiago considers himself a dramatist. A writer/director with 20 years of experience in writing, producing, and directing high-concept, small footprint, well-executed fictional films. He considers his personal movie-making less of a career and more of a lifestyle he enjoys deep diving into when the urge to be creatively innovative and social with a group of artists can’t be further ignored.
Santiago is constantly evolving with the times and is optimistic about a type of cinema that’s more participatory. His forte is for emotionally charged thrillers with strong female leads. The challenge and, frankly, the inconvenience of things suddenly having to change last minute because he’s shooting scripted material in a guerrilla film style is a preference. Something about the intimacy, immediacy, controlled chaos, and raw energy Santiago finds in this method makes it hard not to be influenced by – especially when the team pulls together to fight for a moment or risk losing it. Then, for better or worse, the film takes on a life of its own.
He’s a self-taught filmmaker who usually writes and shoots a film within a month. During the summer of 2020, Santiago took a road trip alone through the Western United States. He dared himself to visit 5 states he’s never set foot in before, spend a week in town not knowing anyone beforehand – And forge ahead with casting, writing, and shooting a series of films. These are the *five 20-minutes Covid Shorts currently being submitted to film festivals here on FilmFreeway.
Most of the productions are #ZeroBudgetShoots; Santiago didn’t have the financial means or time to find and hire a support crew. As a self-proclaimed amateur filmmaker, Santiago continues mastering the ability to direct talent while smoothly managing the production design, sound, and camera on his movies. He also edits and has recently begun exploring music-making for film, using Moog synthesizers and guitar effect pedals. However, he’s still a novice in the original score department with zero musical background other than listening to it.
Santiago has traveled the world as a gun-for-hire, shooting documentaries in the music industry and industrial films in the energy field. Considers Brooklyn, New York home. He’s currently living in Seattle, WA, and he’s originally from Santurce, Puerto Rico. Santiago wants to one day own a cinephile palace. A vintage movie theater/ cafe filled with oddities. A place for filmmakers to meet, dream, and share work. He is also a proud father of twins Lola & Marlon.