Mercurial – A Short Film – 12 Q&A’s with Director Sasha Santiago

Watch the new short film Mercurial at

1.What is the first movie you remember watching that made you want to make a movie yourself?

My father took me to go see Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy on its opening weekend. This was the summer of 1990. I remember not wanting to leave the theater after the movie finished. The last frame is etched in my memory.

2. Name a critic or work of criticism that influenced or inspired you as an artist.

Reading producer Ted Hope’s blog or whomever he usually talks to.

3. What would you like to see more of in American independent film?

Adventure stories set in exciting American landscapes about people inventing their own path to walk. The concept of the neatly packaged family unit isn’t as strong as it once was in American culture today. I think Western stories need to make a comeback but instead of stagecoaches and peacemakers it’s zip cars and smart phones.

4. What would you like to see less of in American independent film?

All-star casts in 100 million dollar “indie” film. Calling a film independent has become a sales gimmick.

5. What movie made you laugh the hardest?

In Bruges. It’s a dark comedy

6. What movie are you most “embarrassed” to say made you cry?

John Cassavette’s A Woman Under The Influence. It was a completely different experience watching the film in a theater. What was embarrassing about it is that you’re sitting in close proximity with a bunch of strangers in a packed theater feeling this emotional charge coming off the screen. It was embarrassing to look around. Nick and Mabel’s good, bad and ugly world was a bit like everyone’s family. I looked over to my friend sitting next to me and she practically buried herself into the seat. It was just a real personal thing happening.

7. What universally upheld cinematic masterpiece do you just not respond to no matter how hard you try?

Godard and Herzog’s films. I love the way they make their movies. I read a lot about their process and philosophies. I’m just not too crazy about how most of their films turn out.

8. What movie did you not appreciate the first time around but fell in love with upon second viewing?

Last Tango in Paris. A masterpiece I didn’t understand at first, but coming around to realize it was fun.

9. Which book would you most like to adapt into a film?

Right now I’m reading a book called American Gunfight. It’s about two Puerto Rican nationalists who attempted to assassinate President Harry Truman in 1950.  Their party leader, Albizu Campos, gave them the order. He wanted the US to let PR be it’s own republic. A great piece of untold American history.

10. What movie would you most like to see remade?

I really want to remake Billy Wilder’s Ace In the Hole, not because it isn’t good, on the contrary, the story and characters have stand the test of time and I think it would be interesting to revisit it for artistic reasons. Like how Hunter Thompson typed out Great Gatsby 100 times to feel what it was like to write a great novel.

11. If you were asked to teach a class in editing and had to choose one movie to focus on for the whole semester, what would it be?

Oliver Stone’s JFK. But I would enjoy teaching a cinematography class instead.

12. If you could go to a movie theater tonight and watch a 35mm print of any movie ever made, what would it be?

Dick Tracy.

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