FLUSH Update

Flush Production Still 4  Flush Production Still 3  Flush Production Still 2  Flush Production Still  Flush Production Still 5Greetings.

We've just locked picture edit on our latest short film "Flush". It is ready for sound design and music. Kelly M. Kelly of Chronic Audio is composing music for this 11 min. humorous and thought-provoking film. I've uploaded a few stills from the shoot for your amusement.

We're currently packaging the film for festivals. If you are interested in previewing "Flush" for an upcoming festival or other public screening, please contact us and let us know.




Greetings. On September 26, 2009 we finished principle photography on a short digital film titled "Flush". The story, written and co-produced by Laura L. Fowler, is about a mother who confines herself to her bathroom, where she drinks and mourns the untimely death of her sister. The film, directed and edited by Al Santana, stars Marjorie Johnson, Taifa Harris, Tyler Power and Akua Henderson-Brown. Crew members include Director of Photography, Sidharta Pascual; DIT, Ali Santana, Sound Recordist/Mixer, JT Takagi; Wardrobe, Islah Abdul Rahim; Make Up, Amy Phillips; Production Assistant, Daoud Abu-Bakr.

Currently, the film is in post production with a rough cut scheduled for the end of next week.

Please stay tuned for further updates.


Amiri Baraka's 75th Birthday Celebration

Greetings. Poet, playwright and social activist Amiri Baraka will have a birthday celebration at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture this Saturday, October 10th between 3pm and 7pm. It's an event you don't want to miss. Come out and show the brother your love.I just finished editing the 10 min. video presentation for the event. It's a moving, raucus compilation of images and sound from notable photographers, poets and videographers.

Be there or be wherever you are...


The Bronx Times

Greetings. The following link is to a news article written about a summer program I was involved with titled "The Full Circle Project". It's always rewarding to work with young people, helping them to realize their creative vision, whether its a reflection of their reality or a projection of their imagination.  Stay tuned. Al


Salty Dog Blues Update

Greetings: We have an exciting line up of activities this weekend at the Left Forum held at Pace University. We invite you all to come and support our efforts

On Saturday, April 18th. at Pace Univerity from 10am-12pm in room w626, we  are presenting a panel titled "Salty Dog Blues:Documenting The Demise of the National Maritime Union". The panel includes labor activists Brenda Stokely and Chris Silvera; filmmakers JT Takagi and Rico Speight; retired merchant marine, Bob Bloom, and is co-chaired by Denise Belén Santiago and Al Santana.

We are also showing a 16 minute excerpt of our film "Salty Dog Blues", which is a work-in-progress. The film tells a story of merchant marines of color; their journey from provincial to global citizens, and how they were caught in a union merger that left many of them without health benefits. It represents a piece of maritime history not previously told. Please see The Defenders Online for an in-depth review. Look forward to seeing you there.



Retired mariner Julio Santiago, at Puerto Nuevo Shipyard, Puerto Rico, 2004. Photo by Mel Wright.

FYI below is more information from the Left Forum organizers.

Dear Friends,

Left Forum is just a few days away! With over two hundred events, including panels, performances, bookfair exhibitions, and parties, this conference is the largest and most diverse that Left Forum has organized to date.

Our opening plenary on Friday April 17th will kickoff the event at 6:30pm:

THE CURRENT CRISIS: ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND CULTURAL DIMENSIONS Walden Bello - Focus on the Global South (Philippines) Katja Kipping - Die Linke (The Left Party, Germany) Adolph Reed Jr. - Political Science, University of Pennsylvania Richard D. Wolff - Economics, The New School Arlie Hochschild – Sociology, University of California, Berkeley Julia Wrigley (Moderator) – Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY

The opening plenary will be followed by performance vignettes of “The Cradle Will Rock,” “Yo Miss: Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide,” and others.

Registration opens at 5pm on Friday night. Please arrive on time to avoid lines! Feel free to join us at a small cocktail party before the opening plenary (tickets sold at registration desk). For a map of the area and directions to Pace University, see below.

On Saturday, April 18th, registration opens at 8:30am. If you have already registered, please pick up your conference badge at our registration desk. The first panels and the Left bookfair begin at 10am. You can view our program online here: http://leftforum.org/?q=2009/program

Our Saturday evening plenary at 7:30 pm will close out the night:

THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN AND PRESIDENCY: LESSONS FOR THE LEFT Bill Fletcher, Jr. (Moderator) - Center for Labor Renewal, Black Commentator Stanley Aronowitz – Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY Frances Fox Piven - Political Science, The Graduate Center, CUNY Barbara Epstein - History of Consciousness, University of California,Santa Cruz Gihan Perera- Miami Workers Center, Right to the City Alliance Barbara Ransby – Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

Our closing plenary on Sunday evening, which addresses possibilities for social movements to make radical change today, will take place at 5pm:

TURNING POINTS Nancy Holmstrom (Moderator) - Philosophy, Rutgers Medea Benjamin - Co-founder, Code Pink and Global Exchange Johanna Brenner - Sociology, Portland State University Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education and Research, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University Bhairavi Desai - Executive Director, New York Taxi Workers Alliance

Thank you so much for your support of this event. We look forward to seeing you on Friday night!

In Solidarity, Left Forum

Map and Directions: Left Forum 2009 will take place at One Pace Plaza, in New York City. For directions, see our website: http://leftforum.org/?q=2009/directions

Check us out on Facebook and Myspace!

On Internet Radio

Greetings: On Saturday, April 11th. at 10:00AM (EST), Producer and talk show host Indi Brooks will interview film director Al Santana on her internet radio show "Talk Of The Town" on WCAN RADIO. Al will discuss the making of "One People", a short film about the intersection of art, politics, and the discovery of playwright Lorraine Hansberry, "Salty Dog Blues: Documenting The Demise of The National Maritime Union", and other topics related to independent filmmaking. So, log on, tune in and see you on the radio.

Process is everything, Al

Salty Dog Blues

Greetings: Our documentary film about U.S. Merchant Marines of color has been retitled "Salty Dog Blues".

On Saturday, April 18th. at 10:00am -  12:00, in ROOM W626, co-producer Denise Belén Santiago and I will screen a 16 minute excerpt of our documentary film "Salty Dog Blues" at the annual Left Forum. Along with the screening will be a panel discussion with retired merchant marines of color, labor activists and independent filmmakers. This year's venue is Pace University in New York City, just across from City Hall. More information will be provided in the coming days. Please log in and stay tuned.





Eyes On The Ground

Greetings:On April 20th. Al Santana Productions, in collaboration with The Drammeh Institute and The National Museum of African-American Cinema, will screen films from the 2001 UN Durban Conference on racism. The screening will coincide with the follow up conference presently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. Please join us at the Harlem State Office Building in New York City at 7pm. See flyer below for details.




Charles Blackwell Dies

Sorry, I have some bad news to report. I was informed this afternoon that veteran sound recordist and teacher Charles Blackwell was found dead in his hotel room in Singapore this morning. He was there on assignment teaching at the NYU Singapore film school. I don't have any more information at this time, but will update as it becomes available. Charles was also a dear friend and colleague. His last collaboration with me was on our short film "One People" where he did location sound. We, in the Black independent film community are deeply saddened at the loss of this great human being.



Full Circle Project

Greetings. I have the pleasure of announcing the roll out of an exciting new project for teenagers. It's called the Full Circle Project. This past summer, I was involved as a video instructor in a six-week collaborative program between Urban Word, The Drammeh Institute and Al Santana Productions titled Visually Speaking. It's where, in the words of the program director, Iman Drammeh "Filmmaking meets Spoken Word". Please see the link below for more details.


Remember, get out and vote.


Third World Newsreel Workshops

Greetings. More great workshops for indie filmmakers.

| TWN Workshops

The Fall 2008 Wednesday Night Workshops continue with a Free Workshop with Cyrille Phipps Wednesday, October 22nd at 6:30 PM. Register now!

Walk-in seminars on film/video/digital production topics from funding to sound and more! Professionals in the field provide down to earth "how-to's" for the independent media-maker. Oct 22nd is free. All other Classes recession priced: $20 ($10 student/low income).

Wednesday, October 22nd, 6:30 PM Seen and Heard: Cyrille Phipps, Filmmaker, Camerawoman, Editor ** Free Workshop ** A TWN workshop grad, veteran of the acclaimed film collective, Black Planet Production/Not Channel Zero and former Manager Director of Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Phipps has done almost everything in production, from Script Continuity to TV station management. A media educator and social issue documentary maker for almost 20 years, she is now the Senior Broadband Video Editor at TV Land Digital, while finishing a new film, Seen But Not Heard: AIDS and the Untold War Against Black Women, on the continuing issue of AIDS in the African American community. Phipps will screen and talk about her new film, and talk about how one gets into and stays in this field.

Wednesday, October 29nd, 6:30 PM Tips for Better Sound Recording The basics of recording, microphone types, hard drive recorders and mixers, working with large and small format cameras, and how to avoid heartache at the mix. Bring your questions. With JT Takagi.

Monday, November 10th at 6:30 PM Producing New Media: Beyond the Film Screen As you prepare to produce your media project, you should also be planning and budgeting for the various other multimedia you will need to create - from podcasts to blogs, to interactive websites and social media sites. Ann Bennett, the Multimedia producer for Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (By Thomas Allen Harris and Deborah Willis, PhD), discusses and demonstrates the terrain of new media and how you can get started.

Wednesday, November 19th at 6:30 PM Creating a Podcast Andreas Jackson, "Defuse News" Podcast Producer for the Hip Hop Association (H2A) talks about producing video and audio podcasts - the nitty, gritty of the equipment, production, marketing and dissemination of a technology in the service of social justice. A co-presentation of TWN and the Hip Hop Association (H2A).


Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro Workshop Sikay Tang will be teaching a 6 Saturday course on editing using Final Cut Pro with an intro to DVD Studio Pro. Three hours each Saturday starting October 25th, with lab time available during the week. Course cost: $300.

To register for the Wednesday seminars and the Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro course, please email to workshop@twn.org ASAP!

Another Screening of "One People"

Greetings. Just heard that "One People" will screen in Harlem on October 10th. at 6:30pm. The venue is the Maysles Film Studio, 127th. Street and Lenox Avenue. This screening is part of the St. Clair Bourne Tribute Film Festival, which runs from October 8th thru October 13th. This event, sponsored by The 350th. Harlem Anniversary Celebrations and The Black Documentary Collective, will feature many excellent films and panel discussions. For more information visit www.harlemthennowandforever.org. I hope to see you there. Al

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival

Greetings. I'm am pleased to announce that our short experimental narrative film "One People" is an official selection of the 2008 Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival. The festival is scheduled to take place on September 26-28, 2008 in Brooklyn N.Y. at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. "One People" will screen on Saturday, September 27th. at 7:30PM. Please see link below for details. http://www.reelsisters.org/schedule08.html


Love Me Through It

Love Me Through It is a narrative short produced by Emmanuel Baptist Church in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, New York and directed by first time director Robert Holley. The film, shot in mini dv 24p by yours truly, with the assistance of gaffer Haffe Acosta, is an emotional story, about a young women who, after being diagnosed with the AIDS virus, comes to grips with her family, friends, and her church in dealing with the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. The 40 min. film is having its premiere on Friday, June 27th. at Emmanuel Baptist Church 279 Lafayette Avenue 36 St. James Place at 6:30pm.

All are welcome.

Contact the church for more information at: (718) 622- 1107/3343 (fax)


Merchant Marine Film On Track

Hi all. Our documentary about U.S. Merchant Marines is progressing according to plans. We have conducted extensive interviews with retired mariners from Puerto Rico and are expanding the scope to include, African-Americans, West Indians and Asians. We are currently seeking finishing funds and possible pre-sales for this feature length documentary. In addition to applying to various foundations for support, we have submitted a 21 minute sample reel to the Independent Feature Project (IFP) for inclusion in the upcoming market in September.

We continue to get great leads on public domain stock footage and other sources of expertise on the subject. Please hit us back here with any leads you may have. This project began a few years ago in mini dv format and one of the big questions for us is should we continue in this format or change to hd mid-stream. Obviously, we are concerned with image quality but more specifically the change in the look by making the change.

In January we upgraded our computer and editing software. Now working with the new Mac Pro Dual Quad, Final Cut Pro Studio, 16 gigs for Ram and over 4TB of storage, we have the capability to mix formats and enough storage for our long-form documentary.

That's it for today.


Reparation Blues

My most recent collaboration is with Brooklyn-based performance artist Ghai'l Rhodes Benjamin in the production of a 4 min. video titled Reparation Blues, for the WGBH Lab's Open Call. The rough cut is currently on their site http://lab.wgbh.org/. We would appreciate your comments and rating. I'm currently doing the fine cut, and that should probably be up some time next week. (Feb.)

Al Santana Films At BAM

Films At BAM

Please join me on Monday, October 1, 2007, 7:00 PM at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for a retrospective of my work. We’ll be screening excerpts from two long-form films: Voices of The Gods, (1985) and Durban 400, (2003), as well as three short films:

In The Spirit of Peace (2002)

Military Option (2005)

One People (2007)

Voices of The Gods is a documentary about two ancient West African Religions (Yoruba and Akan) that are practiced in the United States today.

Durban 400 produced by The Drammeh Institute and Al Santana Productions, is a documentary that focuses on Reparations for the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. The film follows a group of grass-roots activist to Durban, South Africa for the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism, Xenophia and Related Intolerances where they address the issue of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism as Crimes Against Humanity.

In The Spirit of Peace was produced as part of Third World Newsreel’s Call For Media Action, following the 9/11 attacks. It chronicles a peace march that took place in Brooklyn on September 23, 2001, where members of Brooklyn’s Yoruba and Akan communities made a definitive call for peace in direct contradiction to the message coming from the government and corporate media outlets.

Military Option is collaboration of filmmaker, Rico Speight and Third World Newsreel’s Call For Change initiative. This film looks at military recruiting practices in communities of color.

One People, a collaboration of producer/playwright Laura L. Fowler and Al Santana, takes place against the backdrop of a gentrified Harlem community. The story centers on two sisters who have opposite views about social responsibility and the role of artists. Aliyah, a self-styled revolutionary filmmaker, is producing a documentary about the 1960's black power movement. Her sister, Valerie, is a poet whose work centers on themes of sensuality and love. They challenge each other on the purity of art and the need for art to inspire social change. Together, they discover a politicized Lorraine Hansberry.

Please visit my website to view clips of the films and other cool stuff. www.alsantana.com

Best regards and hope to see you on Monday at BAM. General admission is $11. and we'll also have DVD's of Voices of The Gods, Durban 400 and One People on sale.


Process Is Everything