Meet shining superstar triple threat Premstar Santana, an award-winning California native SAG – AFTRA actor, a filmmaker, and founder of Moonfaze Films and the Moonfaze Feminist Film Journal [formerly known as the Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival]. She is also a photographer and a multidisciplinary artist.
In 2015, tired of waiting for permission to screen her own films, filmmaker and actor Premstar Santana decided to create a film festival of her own: The Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival. The festival ran for two consecutive years in Los Angeles, CA celebrating feminist films from all around the world. Although the response to the festival was beyond her wildest dreams, due to a lack of funding, and yet determined to keep on with the Moonfaze mission, Premstar decided to transition the festival into an online film journal.
With over a decade of acting training & experience and a background in dance & design, Premstar has created a unique body of work that speaks from the heart, and to the heart. Her goal as an artist is to be constantly creating and collaborating, bringing important stories to life in the most truthful and beautiful ways. Most recently her film LUNA, which she directed, wrote and starred in, won Best Experimental Short at the Los Angeles Underground Film Forum. We sat down with talented Premstar to discuss whats next moving forward with the Moonfaze movement.
Now you are a triple threat, as an award-winning actor, a filmmaker, and founder of Moonfaze Films how do you manage to keep sane and juggle everything?
An abundance of caffeine. No, but all joking aside, I ’m lucky to live a freelance life where I can make my own schedule. Which, by the way, I’m learning to master because it is an art in itself.
With over a decade of acting training & experience, have you always had a passion for the film industry in particular? Yes, I’ve always loved film but my roots are in the theater. I love the stage with all of my heart and soul.
Do you feel that you are met with the lofty expectations of what the film industry is supposed to?
If you mean do I encounter the unreasonable expectations of the film industry then the answer is yes, constantly. I’ve been told I need to be sexier, that the skinnier I am the more beautiful I am, and that I’m never going to get a break unless I succumb to these unreasonable industry standards. I even had someone tell me I should change my name in order to be taken more seriously. The list goes on and on, but the more I continue on the path that rings true for me, the more I am presented with amazing opportunities and abundance.
LUNA won Best Experimental Short at the Los Angeles Underground Film Forum, massive congratulations in order! How does it feel to be recognised for your outstanding work?
Thanks so much. It was a real honor, I did not expect it at all. It’s a very magical feeling when people understand and celebrate your work.
What is next in terms of projects for you?
Our journal is ongoing so that’s always a priority and acting/filmmaking wise I have a couple of short films in the works along with one feature which I’m quite thrilled about. I’m also writing a lot more, which I must say is not easy. But I’m determined to write a feature-length script by the end of next year.
Any challenges or barriers faced so far? If so, how did you overcome them?
Definitely. The whole reason I started Moonfaze Films and the Moonfaze Feminist Film Journal [Formerly known as the Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival] was because I was tired of waiting for permission. For permission to play the interesting roles, I wanted to play, to make my own films, and to showcase my work. I reached a boiling point so-to-speak, and I realized there have to be other creators out there feeling the same way, which of course there are many. After that moment of clarity (in 2015) I began with a website and social media sites for Moonfaze and started reaching out to everyone I possibly could. Then boom! The magic began to unfold.
Any anecdotes to share about your journey so far?
This is nowhere near as horrible as some auditioning stories I’ve heard, but I had an audition once where I was asked to seduce a man through an imaginary prison window without any dialogue in front of a room full of people. Then the auditioner/camera guy pulled a red-carpet move and panned the camera slowly from my head down to my toes and back up again while everyone watched. That may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, because after that I was like, “Oh hell no! That’s it. I make my own shit (films).” I mean, I probably didn’t get the part because I was wearing clogs, but whatever. Clogs are totally sexy. Duh.
What do you think is the common misconception about filmmaking?
That you have to follow all the rules.
What is next for you Premstar?
Big things I hope. I want to continue to share my work the world and continue to support other like-minded artists.
Lastly what advice would you give to other young women wanting a career in the film industry?
Don’t put up with any shit. Speak your mind. Stand up for yourself and injustices around you. Treat everyone on set equally and with kindness. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.
Image by Nico Nelson
Twitter: @premstarsantana | Instagram @premstarsantana