I didn’t think this would happen

 In Projects


I don’t like to really speak about my work. I like my work to speak for itself. Saying that I will contradict myself for the rest of this post.

Projects for me don’t start when I write down my ideas. They usually begin months before that as daydreams or crazy aspirations even hallucinations from time to time. This lets me contemplate and reflect on my ideas. Which in turn morphs them and lets them take a mythological form in my mind. This process is extremely frustrating, depressing and lonely but I don’t think I could work any other way. You see I have to put myself through that to know it’s real. That it has merit in my mind and actually holds a deepness and isn’t just a superficial feeling or emotion. Then as I sit and begin I let my mind go blank and start. That is by pulling out my camera or just doodling or writing. I try to think about the process the same way a jazz musician would. I study my music(my ideas) then I just improvise with total confidence that I will come out on the other side a new person. This is how Capitol Kitsch came to be. My friend Jessica and I went to a screening on campus put together by Michael Sicinski (https://www.criterion.com/current/author/497-michael-sicinski). Michael invited Ephraim Asili (https://vimeo.com/user13843093) to show some of his current work for students. The event wasn’t highly advertised so I doubt if most people would have heard of it. That night Ephraim showed five different films. All completely different from each other all explorations of different ideas. Film after film I was taken back it was something like I had never seen before. The world of Cine-poetry had opened itself to me. I won’t go into direct detail about what I saw that night but for a small glimpse I recommend taking a look at Ephraim’s vimeo. This event occurred last year around November or maybe even October.

Since then I have been extremely confused. Nothing has made sense. It seems like all direction has been lost. My purpose flew out the window and soared away. I began to question the purpose of my work and efforts. It seemed that as days went by my position in the system and institution was corrupted. I walk and feel like I am contradicting my beliefs and ideals. I preach artistic exploration to the edges of the world and mind but there I am sitting in a desk still a pawn to the system. Maybe I am wrong but I believe that if I want to be the artist I aspire to be I must detach myself from the system I criticize so much.

So I tried just that. Without permits or permission I went out and started filming the one thing I know best. That is the city of Houston. I usually drive pass downtown everyday like many Houstonians do. Our city is a commuter city and I love it. That transition from the suburbs to the metropolitan is beautiful. I’m extremely fascinated by the buildings downtown. As I drive by I look up and it almost feels like each building is floating in the air. So I filmed it that way. Most of the shots are from parking garages I found around the city. Out of the three I went to I only got kicked out of one so I call that a success. Then the poem was a construction of smaller poems and ideas that Jessica and I worked on. I must give her the credit for the writing of most of it. She really can write like no one else I have ever met. The whole project took us 12 hours to put together. From recording to editing. It was a lot of fun to be able to work with someone I respect and admire. We submitted it to Cadence: Video Poetry Festival in Seattle and on Saturday we were notified that our short had been selected to be screened at the festival. You may be asking yourself right now “Isn’t Seattle on lock down for the foreseeable future?”. Well yes it is. The festival was supposed to be taking place from April 15-19 and with the current situation it has been moved online. The festival will be giving all the selected films a time slot to appear in their vimeo live stream. They said more information like a definitive schedule will be sent to all the selected participants and a viewing code for the live stream. I will be sharing both to who ever might be interested in watching.

Thank you for reading this post that is way too long. I don’t know how to keep things short.

The Universe Smiles Upon You.


Stalin Santiago

P.S. Also I will be posting my director spotlight pieces in the next couple of days. The first will be Chantal Akerman the women who completely changed my outlook on cinema.


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Showing 5 comments
  • David Rubio

    I want to genuinely thank you for this post. It was probably hard to do, so I appreciate your efforts. I enjoyed the film and hopefully I will be able to catch the live-stream.

  • Hales

    Your process is much the same as my own. We as artists must live with the roommates we make of our own ideas and mental images. You said it beautifully.

  • Miranda

    You found such a beautiful way to express your process. It shows in everything you create. I’m almost excited that you were moved so deeply that you had to question yourself, thats tough but valuable. Amazing work Stalin, but that’s not shocking. Congratulations on the recognition from the festival! Let Jessica know she’s an extremely talented poet, and let yourself know I admire your work always!

  • Sofia

    Watching this was like running to the living room on Christmas morning in the 2000s to find out you just got a whole new beyblade set and a razor scooter. Well… not exactly but the point I’m trying to make is I’ve always admired your art, and how you’re not afraid to think outside the box, so I’ve been excited to see your work for a while now. I respect your process. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Kelvin Kataria

    I am both inspired and not surprised in the slightest. The work as I expected is beautiful, it moved me to reach an emotional breakthrough that I knew I would experience in watching your film. Thank you for filming our beautiful city ignoring any barriers in order to create something both inspired, captivating and personal.

    I cannot wait for the Livestream.

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