We're nearing completion of the documentary. Please stay tuned for our screening date. For those who may not know, this is a seven-year project that co-producer/director Denise Belen Santiago and I have been working on. It's the story of retired merchant marines of color who were members of the now defunct National Maritime Union, their contribution in time of war and peace, and their struggle to recoup lost health benefits. 'SALTY DOG BLUES' TRAILER


Third World Newsreel Workshops

Greetings,As some of you may already know, I am a long-time friend and supporter of Third World Newsreel.

In that role I am sending out to the community a notice for their upcoming filmmaking workshops. Please contact them directly with any questions or registration.

Thank you.


TWN Fall Workshop Series - Starting October 20th - sign up now!

Our fall workshops will start in a few weeks - featuring: Ann Bennett on Planning for Film/Video and New Media Production, Michelle Materre on Multi Platform distribution, Laurens Grant on Producing for PBS, and more! For more info and to register, go to our workshop page.

TWN presents walk-in seminars on production topics you need - from production management, to new media production, sound recording and more. All classes are $20 ($10 for low income) unless otherwise noted. The workshops take place at Third World Newsreel. Email workshop@twn.org for more information or to register.

See the Fall Listings below - more classes soon to come

Wednesday, October 20th, 6:30 PM Planning for Film/Video AND New Media Production and Budgeting with Ann Bennett Prepping your film - from R&D to production, post and distribution, with a special focus on your new media budgets - now a requirement of all producers. Led by Producer/Director Ann Bennett, multimedia producer for Through A Lens Darkly. ($20/10 low income)

Wednesday, October 27th, 6:30 PM Sound Recording: Tips for Better Results and New Gear the more popular mixers, hard drive recorders and radio mikes. Facilitated by JT Takagi, recordist/filmmaker with gear courtesy of Professional Sound Services. ($20/10 low income)

Wednesday, Nov 3rd, 6:30 PM - Intro to New Media Production An intro to podcasting, blogging and more. Instructor TBD. ($20/10 low income)

Wednesday, Nov 10th, 6:30 PM - Getting Business Savvy With Your Production Commerce, sales, the bottom line...the language of business and filmmakers. Learn business techniques that enhance production and producing. Led by Robin Moore, Business Analyst for Film and Media ($20/10 low income)

Wednesday, Nov 17th, 6:30 PM Planning for Multi Platform Distribution and Marketing MIchelle Materre - both a marketing/distribution expert and professor at the New School, Prof Materre will cover the plans you need to make before you even start to shoot, including your new media platform outreach. Best practices, how-to's, why-to's and where to find the help you need.($20/10 low income)

Wednesday, Dec 1st, 6:30 PM - Laurens Grant on Producing and Directing - Master Class - FREE The producer of "FREEDOM RIDERS" and "LATIN MUSIC USA" and the director/producer of "ROKIA: VOICE OF A NEW GENERATION" will talk about her work, how one becomes a PBS producer and how she balances producing with her own filmmaking work. Free, preregistration required.


All Classes held at: Third World Newsreel 545 Eighth Ave, 10th Flr between 37th and 38th Streets 1,2,3,A,C,E,N,R,W,7 to Times Square


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!

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.



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!