How far will you go to tell the truth?
Santiago is a drug dealer who agrees to let Miguel, a Mexican actor, follow and study him for his next role. With only Billy the cameraman at his side, the two set out to document a day in the life of Santiago. Through Billy’s camera we see the story of a man struggling to survive as he juggles a world of prostitutes, territorial control, and drugs in the streets of Los Angeles. As the night comes closer to an end, all is not as it appears to be in a world of lies and blood shedding truths.
Director of Photography, Mr. Jan-Michael Losada, worked with director Felix Martiz to capitalize on a dynamic use of the documentary cinema style to present filmic truth. The cinematic approach and use of hand-held camera, practical lighting, and desaturated coloring, create a platform for the viewer to fully engage with the most intimate moments of Santiago’s life.
Being a first generation Latino and raised in Spanish speaking home, I utilized everything in my background to create this story. For instance, as the film progresses, the Spanish language is more present. The use of my native language is a tool of truth. It is an exploration of the core of who I am as a Latino. My heritage is not only on display with the writing of his characters, I also used it as a way to approach the narrative of the story. Santiago is Ecuadorian, Miguel is Mexican and Billy is American, and even though these are very different characters, they each represent a part of me.
Santiago at its core, is a dark genre piece. The presentation of Santiago as a documentary, helps touch upon themes that are very real in the Latin community. This was an important aspect of the film that as a writer, I touched upon every chance I could. The immigrant struggle is part of my life. Both of my parents came to this country as immigrants and worked hard to earn what they have built. Santiago explores the extremes of this struggle, from the immigrants who come to this country and fall victim to the reality of having nothing, to the Santiago type, who won’t play within the lines of conformity and creates his own path.
Editing was done by the Director/ Writer Felix Martiz, who found a way to implement a fresh style to a documentary style film. As SANTIAGO progresses, the story intensifies, as does Martiz’s approach with the editing, culminating in a unique and surprising ending stylistically.