Monday, November 13, 2017

"The Trail To Yesterday" 1918 (the reincarnation begins)

This above non-restored screen-shot from the 1918 Silent Era film "The Trail To Yesterday. 
Psychotropic Films is undertaking the production under the direction of Bart Santello.

This is the scene where Sheila Langfort (Anna G. Nillson) take refuge from the night and storm at the cabin of a stranger Dakota (Bert Lytell).  

"..The apprehensive and scoping gaze Anna G. Nillson is a gem for its moment in this scene.."  - Bart Santello

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

THE DOME wins 'Best of Arizona' at AIFF

Psychotropic Films is pleased to announce that "The Dome" short film has won "Best of Arizona" at the 2017 Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson, Arizona.  The Dome a film by Adam Ray of Taxman Entertainment in collaboration with Psychotropic FilmsTM was screened on 23 April 2017 as part of a documentary shorts program of the AIFF.  

Photo: Bart Santello (front left) along with other award winners
at the 2017 Arizona International Film Festival

Additional links to further information:

The Dome's information page on the festival's site can be accessed here:

Interview link with Bart Santello for the AIFF in regards to The Dome

Video link to the AIFF documentary panel discussion with  Bart Santello and Adam Ray

An early "teaser" posted by Director Adam Ray on YouTube

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The DOME to Screen at AIFF, Tucson on April 23rd

The 26th annual 2017 Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson opened last night and will run through the end of the month.  Here's a quick plug for the fest from KVOA News:

The news spot contains a few clips from THE DOME a collaboration between Taxman Films and Psychotropic Films, with will screen on April 23rd at 1:00pm, preceded by a panel discussion on the film at 11:00am

Films are shown at Screening Room, Congress Street.  See website:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

TaxMan Films Title Card

Psychotropic Films announces a 'title card' release for Taxman Films, to coincide with the release of their experimental doc-u-film short:  "The Dome", directed by Adam Ray.  Director of the title card Bart Santello designed the look to compliment the mysterious and dark nature of previous Taxman Films and to prepare a viewing audience for the style of "The Dome" film.  This work also supports final post-production for The Dome's preparation for screening as accepted into the 2017 Arizona International Film Festival ( in Tucson, Arizona for the dates 19-30 April, 2017. 

TaxMan Films Title Card from Psychotropic Films on Vimeo.

Monday, February 13, 2017

MZUNGU to Screen at the Arivaca Film Exhibition

Psychotropic Films is proud to announce the screening of MZUNGU - A Stranger's Dream in Africa at the Arivaca Independent Filmmakers Exhibition on Saturday March 4th at 12:45pm, as part of the program's afternoon documentary program.

Post-production for MZUNGU took 10-years to complete due to both the artistic and technical challenges inherent in the complexity of the production.

Bart Santello, MZUNGU's director says that the technical challenges stemmed from the fact that filming used a 2005-vintage Sony TRV-38 digital camera, recording onto Mini-DV tape (SD). The film also used a couple of consumer-based digital cameras at the time that only recorded in 480P!

So scaling-up the footage to look presentable on today's modern HDTV's (2K) was a considerable effort.  Where the imaging was inadequate, the images were processed to create and artistic effect.

Psychotropic Films employs a 'sub-conscious' filmmaking process in which a film is created based inspired images based on an idea (concept).  The film was assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle of visual 'elements', over the years slowly revealing the experience of two months in Rwanda and Uganda -  a memory of that experience.  The result is a 'dream-like' imagery and sound experience, which provides the viewer an experience as if they have woken-up inside a dream.

New Video Editing Computer

Psychotropic Films has added a new high-performance Video Editing Computer to handle 4K footage from its Samsung NX1 Digital Camera.  Primary editing software is Magix Vegas Pro 14 & Video ProX.

Built Specifications:

CASE: Corsair Carbide 300R w/USB 3.0
CPU: Intel(R) Core™ Processor i7-6800K 6-Core 3.40GHz 15MB Intel Smart Cache LGA2011-V3
MOTHERBOARD: MSI X99A XPower Gaming Titanium, Wi-Fi 802.11 AC, USB 3.1 Type-C, Intel GbE LAN, 5x Gen3 PCIe x16, 1 PCIe x1, 2x M.2 PCIe9
PRIMARY DRIVE: M2SSD: 256GB Intel(R) SSD 600p Series PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD - 1800MB/s Read & 560MB/s Write
SSD: 480GB SanDisk Z410 SATA-III 6.0Gb/s SSD - 535MB/s Read and 445MB/s Write
VIDEO CARD: ASUS GeForce(R) GTX 1070 Dual-Fan OC Edition 8GB GDDR5 (Pascal)
MEMORY: 16GB (4GBx4) DDR4/3000MHz Quad Channel Memory (Corsair Vengeance)
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network & built-Wifi Dual band
SOUND: High Definition On-Board 7.1 Audio
OPTICAL: LG BluRay 16x Reader/Writer w/M-DISC support
POWERSUPPLY: 800 Watts - Certified Power Supply 
FAN: Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED CPU Cooler w/ PWM fan Plus 3X 120mm Case Fans
USB HUB: Internal USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer
OS: Windows 10 Home (64-bit Edition)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Boosting Field Recorded Audio

I was out at 4 am a few weeks back recording coyotes in the outback here in Arizona.  The recording on my Edirol R09 at 24-bit/48-kHz was good, but the recording level was very low at -39dB.  I couldn't get the volume level anywhere near my target of -12dB in my DAW, so in order to boost the signal boosted I went with a hardware solution.

So I ran a line-out from the Edirol R09 to a Rolls Promatch MB15b, which converts consumer stereo level signals to professional line level signals and provide audio amplification.  Then to further amplify the signal, the output from Rolls Promatch was directed to a Behringer U-PHORIA UM2 2x2 USB Audio Interface.  The UM2 has a preamplifier and dedicated output level control.

The output of the UM2 was send via USB to my computer and imported using Magix's Audio & Music Laboratory.  I was able to achieve the volume increase, but I was somewhat disappointed in the signal-to-noise ratio.  However, the next step will be to filter out the noise and then work to create sound-design with the coyote yelps.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

MZUNGU's Last Edit?

It has been ten years since I was in Africa traveling and filming MZUNGU.  It has been ten years that I have been working on the 'digital film' MZUNGU.  And that's exactly how long it needed to take. Below is a list of possibly the last editing notes from reviewing current version of the film.  I feel I'm finally 'there' both from the artistic side and working with the technical challenges.  


For MZUNGU, my goal on the technical side was to develop 480P digital video and mini-DV tape (mid-2005 consumer imaging technology) in order to express its full potential from that era - while at the same time scaling-up the image to current HDTV technology.  Coincidentally, this type of vintage footage was ideally suited for artistic expression to convey a perception what I experienced in Africa. These textured images invoke dreamlike environments that mirror stages of sleep and consciousness.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Adam Ray out of Tucson is crafting an artistic film "THE DOME" about the structure which features a dome that I am constructing with cob in Arivaca, Arizona.  This earthen structure will be my post-production studio and environment for film-making and other media projects.

Due out in early February 2017, this work will be produced by Taxman Entertainment with additional production and distribution by Psychotropic Films LLC.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

ROAD STORM Screening in Tucson

Bart Santello's digital film - ROAD STORM screened on April 15, 2016 at the Arizonal International Film Festival (April 14 - May 1, 2016) - Screening Room, Congress Street, Tucson, Arizona


My digital film ROAD STORM was the first film to be screened in the new 'micro-short' category at the AIFF.  The total run time was 2min-30sec.

Filmakers addressing the audience during the Q&A after the shorts  screened.  From left Ania Augustowska & Joshua Montgomery (Our Desert Farms); 5th from left Daniel Hyde (Manna); Joshua Provost (Love in Five Parts); Bart Santello (Road Storm); Nicholas Duarte (Sultan of the Sea).  

A good 'local' crowd was on-hand that night for the Arizona Shorts Program

Arizona International Film Festival director Giulio Scalinger (center), standing in front of the Screening Room, Tucson, scans the post-event crowd. In the foreground from left, Carol Cardenas, Mia Schnaible and in the light purple shirt Phoenix-based filmaker Joshua Provost converse on the sidewalk.


In the works: "DOME a" digital film by Adam Ray and Taxman Entertainment will be Produced by Psychotropic Films.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Road Storm submitted to the Arizona International Film Festival (April, 2016)


The Arizona International Film Festival is having a "Short-Shorts" program for films less than 5-minutes, so last month I was finishing-up the sound design for my short digital film "Road Storm"; and decided to see if it was something the AIFF thought interesting and artistically creative enough to add into the program for April 2016. So I submitted it tonight. I wanted to express in "Road Storm" the varieties of experience one has traveling frequently along the 23+ mile Arivaca Road to Arivaca Arizona. In the case of this film, a severe monsoon electrical storm occurred in Arivaca in August of 2014. I happened to be driving along late at night up the Arivaca Road, right into the middle of it. So knowing its that season I had a GroPro camera I pulled over to install on the dash. I had to work fast to make the recording of the storm happen. Editing reduced 30-mintues of video into 2-minutes. What added the artistic element to the piece was several years of micro-burst storm field recordings I conducted in Arivaca. Fantastic storms they were to record and just be part of: But what to do with the material? That's how Road Storm evolved - The coming together of the imagery and my archive of recordings. Like pieces of the puzzle. But the real bonus was working with some real advanced digital-audio tools; from Magix, Izotope and Sony to bring the sonic into full-spectrum. Look for ROAD STORM in 2016! - Bart Santello

Related: Arivaca Film Exhibition

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Photographs from WASTELANDER

Director Angelo Lopes is behind the forthcoming independent post-apocalyptic film WASTERLANDER

 Director Angelo Lopes behind the mic

Trina Boutin & Jim Rundell (Costumes and Effects)

Carol Cardenas is the lead female role in WASTELANDER

Jon Proudstar - Actor WASTELANDER 

Talent: Brendan Guy Murphy & Sian Vilaire

Scott Hellon - Producer
Production Company: Point of View Pictures 

All photos by Bart Santello 
Taken at the Tucson Convention Center
November 8. 2015 

2015 Psychotropic FilmsTM

Friday, September 11, 2015

New Video Logo For Psychotropic Films


                        Created by Bart Santello for Psychotropic Films. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Road Storm

The image below is a photo of the promotional graphic for "Road Storm" a forthcoming experiential digital project by Psychotropic Films.  A beautiful and incredibly chaotic lightning bolt was captured from a 1/30th of a second frame of digital video. The lightning bolt was not retouched; it's shown as photographed then was incorporated as a graphic element into the film's promotional art.


My motivation for Road Storm was to create an experiential film to communicate an unexpected storm event, experienced one night along the 25-miles of the Arivaca Road in July of 2014.  More importantly the unexpected is what one experiences routinely living along the Arivaca Road. Road Storm is a memory of that event.

The sound design I created for the work, came primarily from audio field recordings of the summer monsoon storms in southern Arizona.  The combination of the audio layered over the storm imagery creates a powerful sensory dynamic.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


MZUNGU: A Stranger's Dream in Africa
Director: Bart Santello

(above pic) A screen shot from MZUNGU:  A dusty Rwandan road leads to a mountain known to be inhabited by Gorillas.

It would be really cool if I could complete this film by mid-2015, provided the sound-design doesn't get too complicated; and I can complete a complex edit on the final scene known to me as the "Chip Riot". We'll see how everything goes. 

A mysterious image appears in Bart Santello's forthcoming work 'MZUNGU'.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Previsualizations Appear

Photo: Educator Gina Aroneo in her classroom 
at Barry Goldwater High School, Phoenix 

Gina is the writer/producer for the forthcoming Spaces Between Time film.  I posted a scene element (as I call it) here on VIMEO 

This scene is meant to create a mystery that's linked to a scene from "Outskirts of Infinity

Although this screen shot is darker than it will appear in the film, it is the look I settled on in the segment, in order to bring Gina to the center of attention and minimize the less interesting elements in the wide angle shot.  

In addition, I wanted to add a psycho-social element to the look of the scene.  I wanted to convey, in effect, that she's talking to herself.  The students appear marginalized by the blurring-effect, suggesting marginalization and eventual disassociation.  This isolation is also evident in the imagery of the school in the short.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Metaphysical Elements

The featurette for the forthcoming "Outskirts of Infinity" DVD is in production..
This past weekend writer-producer for The Spaces Between Time, Gina Aroneo, engaged Arivaca artist Peggy Kane in a conversation about her metaphysical paintings that inspired concepts in Outskirts of Infinity and helped establish the filmic frame-work that led to a sense of timelessness and contemplation of inter-dimensional gateways in the film.

Above: Still image from digital video of Peggy Kane in her studio (Arivaca, AZ)
Go to the blog here:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saying goodbye to a friend..Cindie Wolf

My good friend and beautiful person Cindie Wolf passed-away on April 7th,  As a tribute to her memory, I wanted to make available on the Internet my digital film "Strange Attractor" in which she acted back in 2005. See below for more details and link to the film. 

Cindie Wolf in the Post-Post Modern Film - Strange Attractor

Image: Still frame from my digital film "Strange Attractor" as-rendered digitally by a 1985-vintage Commodore Amiga 1000 Computer.  For technical aspects and to view the film (11-min), click this link to VIMEO.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Returning to the Outskirts

The drive out to Ruby, Arizona is along a road that invokes the sense of the unknown.  I usually travel in the light of the late afternoon and return in the dark.  All you can think of is what's around the next turn.  It's not far from my home in Arivaca, but upon returning, the feeling is like you spent time in another place. 
Tucson filmmaker Scott Hellon (Point of View Pictures) and myself traveled down to Ruby last summer to make the film I intentioned 8-years ago - filming the migratory bats of Ruby.  But that movie project became something completely different.  I ended up making what became a really important film for me: "The Outskirts of Infinity".  Although the film included a flight of the bats, it wasn't the nature video I had planned to make.
 Scott Hellon on the Ruby Road, Arivaca, Arizona - 2013
But last summer (2013), I had the opportunity to make the nature film I originally intended.  The flight of the bats is really beautiful and something unique that I have access by living in these wild borderlands. Therefore, I felt that experience needed to be expressed in an artistic manner.

The day of filming was planned and other friends from Arivaca and one of Ruby's property owners joined us.  They had their own film mission -to drop a camera several hundred feet down the mine's main shaft. A vertical shaft that has been sealed for over 70-years.  That short film "Exodus" will be shown on Friday night March 7th, 2014 at the "Arivaca Independent Filmmakers Exhibition".
We arrived at the Ghost town of Ruby in the late afternoon.  The bats usually leave the cave at dusk.  We took a look around to get a sense of the place then both film teams and their wives had a informal pot luck dinner.  After dinner, Scott and I were setting up equipment that included sound recorders, when suddenly someone called out that the bats were flying - early!  Totally unprepared, I handed Scott a camera he had no experience with, while I grabbed my camera and we both got to filming the bat flight. 
After, I was totally bummed that we were not finished with the setup in time to optimize the camera angles I wanted for the film.  The photo below to some extent shows my contemplative mood after the shoot was over.
Bart Santello with camera in hand at Ruby, Arizona - 2013

It wasn't until we returned and looked at the footage, did I realize Scott's camera work saved the day and my second camera captured the 'establishing' shots necessary to piece the film together.  After several months of editing, my film "Bats of Ruby" has been completed.

Music for the film was from musician John Lyell, an artist producing some of the finest ambient-electronic soundscapes I have heard in a long time. 


The Bats of Ruby will be first screened at the Arivaca Filmmakers Exhibition on Friday night March 7th in Arivaca as part of the event's local filmmakers program.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

New Video Logo

This film clip was extracted from vintage World War II footage. I performed some digital effects on the film and added the titling. The sound-design is a short riff from an ambient-electronic music piece by Robert Rich 

2014 Psychotropic Films Video Logo from Psychotropic Films on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Bats of Ruby Directed by Bart Santello

Bats of Ruby is the film I thought I was going to make back in 2005 when I went to Ruby. Arizona, but ended-up making Outskirts of Infinity instead.  So with newer digital camera technology and eight additional years of filmmaking, I was able to make a film that conveyed a sense of visual poetry of the bats in flight by capturing the synchronicity of  thousands of individual contributors. 

Principal photography was provided by Tucson filmmaker Scott Hellon (Point of View Pictures), and whose creative camera style was critical to the success of the film.

The film is woven-together by a beautiful piece of sound design by ambient-electronic musician John Lyell. I really enjoy his music compositions which I find suitable for film soundtracks.

Bats of Ruby will  premiere at the Arivaca Independent Filmmakers Exhibition in Arivaca, Arizona on Friday night March 7th.

Announcing the 2014 Arivaca Independent Filmmakers Exhibition

I'm feeling good about the program for the 2014 Arivaca Indendent Filmmakers Exhibition
We have a strong documentary program on March 8th from filmmakers whose works have been selected to commemorate Arizona's Centennial as part of the "AZ100 Indie Film" collection.

The evening independent Arizona short films are really solid; and also include two top-notch comedies from Australia.  Capping the evening is captivating psychological thriller "ASTRAY"; directed by Hayden Blades and the talented team at Synthetic Human Pictures in Phoenix.

Friday evening on March 7th, the "local films" program will be an eclectic mix visual styles, from Arivaca, Green Valley, and surrounding area filmmakers.  The second half of the evening's films will focus on the ghost town of Ruby, Arizona: Both historically and creatively.

The films are great and the event is free and open to the public.  So hope you can make it down.


Monday, June 03, 2013


A screenshot showing just a portion of editing notes for the post-production of MZUNGU - A Stranger's Dream in Africa" an extended short digital film, that I shot in Africa back in 2006. 

It has taken me a long time to design the artistic framework in order to craft this filmic story in Africa.  I'm really excited about this release.  

But there are the computer and technological mechanics of making a digital film; and like anything in life, the more you think you're almost done, the more you find that's left to do.....Bart

Monday, November 12, 2012

Africa Reimagined

(a Stranger's Dream in Africa)
a Psychotropic Films Digital Motion Picture Release
Spring 2013
Premier Screening
March  2, 2013

Friday, September 07, 2012

One Year Ago - A PRODUCE

Ambient music pioneer Robert Rich has a nice page with eloquent words reflecting on the person and music of our mutual friend and collaborator, A PRODUCE (Barry Craig), who passed away unexpectedly 1 year ago.   The link to "Barry Craig - Some Thoughts" from Robert's site is posted below the image.

See comment #15 under 'Comments' at the webpage for links to films that A PRODUCE and Psychotropic Films collaborated on over the past few years.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Clipped from a movie review post by Jean Jessup on Saturday, March 31, 2012 as she covered the AZ 100 INDIE FILM event.
AZ 100 INDIE FILM is a celebration of the Arizona Centennial showing the best of 100 short films made in Tucson.   It was hosted by the Screening Room and featured entries from past years at the Arizona International Film Festival.
My film "The Outskirts of Infinity" was selected for this Centennial program.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

A necessary process?

Managing digital files for a film project is a challenge that becomes integral to the efficiency of that process.  If you can set-up a file structure that flows with the structure of the film - you can save time.  If you can use those moments of time experiment further, the result most likely leads to new creative directions, that will payoff and enhance/expand the project your directing.

Screenshot of random files for 'MZUNGU'
a digital film in development by
Psychotropic Films

Monday, July 23, 2012

AGT1500 In M48 Test Bed

Psychotropic Films presents the release of...

online at VIMEO 

Prototype AGT1500 Gas Turbine Engine - 1970

Development testing of the AGT1500 in a M48 Test Rig adjacent
to Avco Lycoming in Stratford, Connecticut

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Digital Approximation

This image shows digital sound as illustrated by its frequency along time and color to represent intensity of the sound.

When designing new digital sounds, software allows the complete manipulation of digital information that represents the sound.  Individual frequencies can be enhanced or muted.  Effects applied that are limited only by the imagination.  Any sound can be broken apart and analyzed, recombined in new ways, then saved for use as an element in a piece of a larger sound design.

Digital is an approximation of our enviroment, but we experience it as reality.  That is the seduction of our technology.  When we dream, we believe it to be real .  Therefore in a digital environment, we live a waking dream.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

An Image Supporting a Concept

                                                      CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE 

Uganda - East Africa

I look for fragments of digital video that support the ideas behind my film projects.  Then I further develop the inspired media to draw-out and express its hidden artisic content.  These artistic elements contribute to the evolution of the film in support of the original idea.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Day Residue to Screen at the AIFF

Psychotropic Films presents a re-crafted version of Day Residue on Wednesday April 18th, 8pm at the Screening  Room in Tucson with other Arizona made short works as part of the 21st annual 2012 Arizona International Film Festival

Synopsis: Day Residue - a psychoanalytic term related to random yet meaningful events in our day that become the basis for our intricate night-time dreams. In Day Residue, random yet inspired video and media images provided the basis for the filmmaker's 'waking dream' of life in Arivaca, Arizona.
Background: Arivaca is a rural Arizona town near the international border with Mexico.  I arrived in this place by chance in 1998 and never left. Inhabited by rugged individualists, artists, ranchers, prospectors, counter-culture types and off-grid enthusiasts, Arivaca is a unique cross-section of independents that prefer to live life away from authority.  
Although there was no specific intent in mind as video was captured over several years, the resulting film revealed a juxtaposition of people living an authentic life in rural Arivaca, with a nation's immigration fear, drug wars, a military presence and powerful (Orwellian) surveillance technology - all on the international border with Mexico at the dawn of the 21st century.
Over the years I have captured video fragments of interesting happenings in Arivaca with the intent to create a dreamy visual mystery of this place that the viewer can get lost in and wonder.  Inspired video and media images provide the film's framework.  And the 'psycho-active' ambient-electronic score by musician Richard Bone provides a lavish soundscape that is woven throughout this highly textured digital film experience.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Outskirts of Infinity Reviewed in Tucson

"Outskirts of Infinity" was an official selection for the AZ 100 INDIE FILM - commemorating Arizona's Centennial with the best 100 Arizona made short films.  
The Screening Room in Tucson hosted an AZ100 film night in March, where 'Outskirts' was exhibited. 
My film was reviewed by Jean Jessup at 'Movie Reviews from a Spiritual Perspective.'  Her review can be found online here: REVIEW

Friday, January 20, 2012

Creative Destruction

When I returned from 2-months in east Africa in late 2006, my audio recorder's SD cards were filled with sounds and my Sony TRV-38 digital camcorder captured many images on mini-DV tape.  I immediately began trans-coding and organizing these digital files and spent a year on a preliminary edit trying to figure-out what I came back with.  But then I stopped.
 The reason why I put the project aside was that I wanted to make this film (Tile: MZUNGU) my most artistic and avant-garde digital film to date.  I knew I was gradually  improving my editing and special effects techniques, but something told me I needed to wait. I wanted to earn it. So I waited.
But the future for this film is now.  I have the computer hardware and software technology in place, combined with the experience gleaned from previous efforts to make it happen artistically.  Mzungu when finished, will mark the completion of a decade-long series of short works that I would like to make into a DVD compilation.
When reviewing the original edit of the film recently that I started in 2007 - the original 'idea' or 'concept' for Mzungu was correct.  I see now that the 2007 post-production effort was only an outline of what the film will become.  Additionally the original edit was not only the blueprint, but significant 'artistic risk' that now I can translate into the style that has established itself in all my earlier work.
The process of deconstructing the earlier version of the film is now seen to have a purpose.  It showed that the concept was sound.  Now with renewed confidence in the project, it can move forward.  Looking forward to it.