Culture Spotlight Featuring Joshua J Santiago
Writer/Director Joshua J Santiago was born and raised in York, Pennsylvania. He gained a love for the arts while joining the Performing Arts Group while at William Penn Senior High School. Before graduating with a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications atYork College of Pennsylvania, Joshua started filmmaking with 4 Hip Hop DVDs in which all 4 were nominated for Best Hip Hop Documentary at the Central PA Hip Hop Awards.“Anything4U;” is Joshua’s directorial short film debut and he plans to make other projects that tackle tough situations to speak about.
Tell us about your experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival? My experience at the Hip Hop Film Festival was great! Networked with some great people that hopefully in the near future we will collaborate together on some projects. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive of each other’s work, it was a great environment to be around like minded people.
Why are stories from the culture important?Stories from the culture are very important because we all have different perspectives of things we witness coming from the places we come from. Many of the films I’ve seen in this year's festival were relatable and it was refreshing to see that filmmakers think the same as me. Seeing minority filmmakers gives me more motivation to keep going because it shows that we really are needed. I know if I am inspired, I could only imagine the people I could inspire to chase their dreams.
What projects are you working on now? My next from will be called “Thank(U)” which is a spin off of my film “Anything4U;” that was selected into the 2022 Hip Hop Film Festival. “Anything4U;” was a film that focused on the taboo of mental health in our community and the need for us to get help when we actually need it and this new film will be to appreciate the relationships we have in life now. This new film will set the bar on films coming out of my hometown of York, PA.
Why do you think the Harlem Film House and Hip Hop Film Festival are important?Harlem Film House and the Hip Hop Film Festival are important to give confidence to POC in the film industry to show them that their stories are important, and need to be told. For me, being a first time filmmaker, I did not believe I would be selected in this year's festival because I was well known. This festival was a big deal to me, because it’s some heavy hitters that are in here, and for me to be selected and people actually giving me positive feedback was all I needed! Rubbing shoulders with people that look like me in the industry shows me that we can make it, so thank you to HFH and HHFF for showing everyone that we are coming!!