Synopsis: That Girl Named Cinema celebrates the magic of the movies. After being fed up with the lockdown phase, two co-worker/cinephiles reunite at their old workplace, an old art-house movie theater in smalltown Lyon, Nebraska. A mysterious 35mm short reel is uncovered in the vintage neon sign that is believed to a never-before-seen lost film made by Harry Houdini. The characters explore the mysterious reel and are swept away into the escapist qualities of cinema as a way to find new perspectives on how to manage the stresses of isolation and the feelings of an uncertain future during the height of covid-19.
Albert Johnson (Cody)
Dennis Stessman (Ryan)
Bill Hedges (Sam)
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 and 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. The short film, That Girl Named Cinema is #2 installment of the Covid Shorts series.
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. Proud father of twins Lola & Marlon.