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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Four Variations on a Theme

A motion-picture logo for my film company precedes each film.  In a way it's kind of a 10-30 second 'micro-film'.  Most of the time I use an artistic moving image that has no home in any of my current projects.
The image above is a frame from a completed concept using a recently discovered 16mm industrial film and re-crafted ambient sound design riffs selected from electronic musicians A PRODUCE and Robert Rich.
Some of the readers of this blog know of the passing of A PRODUCE this past summer.  Some of the projects we were working on together continue to move forward. It really saddens me to think will not see some of these projects, but I know he was looking forward to getting his music out to an expanded audience.
I created four pre-visualizations of this logo, mostly changing the music and editing the imagery to work with the sound design. From that group I will pick the video-logo that works both artistically and one that meets some personal criteria that these logo ideas parallel efforts that are going into the feature films in development.
In this case, the video-logo will replace an outdated video-logo from the film Man Trap which was selected for this past year's Arizona International Film Festival.  The film has been going through a mastering and finishing post-production process since that screening (April 2011) and applying this fresh video-logo will mark the effort to bring Man Trap to its full artistic potential while preserving the original concept and intent that inspired the film.
As part of the process to decide which of the four variations in the video-logo to choose, I made some notes on what I felt were important considerations in the design of each logo film.  These considerations are not absolute, but each has weight and relativity in the decision.....
> Does the logo compliment (in style and impact), the film that will follow?
> Did I learn something new and/or innovate in the creation of the video?
> What artistic risk was taken in the creation of the video-logo?
> Does the piece work as a 'micro-film'?
> Does the video move the bar forward artistically in the creation of these logos?
> Will the viewer gain some insight on the structure and craft that symbolizes a Psychotropic Film?
When the final version of the logo is decided, a link will be posted to the site hosting the film.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, September 08, 2011

He Left Us Something Special...A PRODUCE (Barry Craig)

Sadly, a friend and musical collaborator on many of my films - Barry Craig (aka A PRODUCE),   passed-away unexpectedly this past Sunday.  My sympathies to Barry's wife Jane, and to his sisters and parents. 
A PRODUCE was a talented person who was prolific in creating unique and emotive music in the genre of ambient, electronic, trance and deep space music.
I will be writing more about my artistic collaborations with A PRODUCE as I collect my thoughts. 

Barry Craig - A PRODUCE

Saturday, July 02, 2011

History Without Words

A long-forgotten engineering development film from the 1960's was located. The 16mm footage records the first test of a revolutionary new gas turbine engine for use in land vehicles, being developed at that time, by Avco Lycoming; a division of the AVCO Corporation in Stratford, Connecticut. 

The engine was orignally known as the PLT25; later the AGT1500. The photo above is a frame from the film, showing a test of the AGT1500 engine being conducted in a M48 tank chasis. The AGT1500 engine has a story. I'm working on ideas to put that history on film.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Short Film Filmmakers

Arizona's Independent Filmmakers with screenings at the 2011 Arizona International Film Festival on April 6th - Tucson. Left-to-Right: Joel Lopez, Brendan Guy Murphy, Bart Santello, Trevvor Riley, and Oscar Jimenez.   For a review of  all the short films screened at the AIFF. see TucsonFilmmakerMagazineOnline

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tucson Review of Man Trap

Here's a link to a review of my film Man Trap with a music score by A PRODUCE.  Man trap was shown at the 2011 Arizona International Film Festival this past April 6th. The review was conducted by Jean Jessup for her film blog "Movie Reviews from a Spiritual Perspective"

Review Link: MAN TRAP Review

I found the review a lucid assessment of how this reviewer perceived her experience of the film. Bart

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Man Trap to Screen in Tucson April 6th

Psychotropic Films is proud to announce that Man Trap, a film about industrial landscapes, machines and the humans that tend to them, will screen Wednsday night April 6th, 2011 - 8pm - at the Screening Room, on Congress Street in Tucson as part of the 2011 Arizona International Film Festival's local short-film program.

On Man Trap - From the Filmmaker Bart Santello:  Deep inside the military-industrial complex, humans toil with technology to assist machines in birthing even more powerful devices.  These counter-intuitive symbols have detached us from our natural world.  Yet machines have become our children and technology our new nature.  Our obsession with technology has evolved the industrial landscape - the ‘man trap’.   Profoundly, each day, we enter the “man trap” to tend to the machines of our creation.”  

"Man Trap" was created from the conscious intention to visually exhibit a factory environment through a series of industrial portraits.  The photographic method intended to artistically capture a hidden visual aesthetic - with images derived from a seemingly an uninspired mechanized landscape.

As machines and technology become more embedded in the conduct of our lives, we have to channel more and more of our time and energy into developing and maintaining these complex machines.

Today, we are making a conscious choice to abandon nature and embrace technology as our source of life. Now in the 21st century it has become apparent that we are engaged in a symbiotic relationship with machines; one of co-evolution and perceived survival.

However, in this seemingly counter-intuitive relationship, humans obsessed with technology have become marginalized. At the same time, machines work tirelessly to build more and more powerful devices.

Integral to delivering the emotional impact of the film is a haunting psycho-active soundscape "You Send Me The Message" by electronic -trance electronic musicians 'A Produce' and 'M. Griffin', from the album "Altara".  (