April 2, 2023

Josh Santiago Changemaker

5 Minutes

Josh Santiago ’10, CEO of York’s C&P Media, was among a select group of “Changemakers” chosen by the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) and Downtown Inc. and featured in a recent issue of YoCo Connect.

“Every day, talented, driven and passionate individuals in our community lead their craft to transform York County,” wrote YCEA Board Chair Jeff Vermeulen and President and CEO Kevin Schreiber ‘02. “Our Changemaker issue celebrates the talent and drive of individuals of color making things happen in our community.”

Santiago, “The Creative,” was recognized for “being a resource of creative support to aid the lives of others in York and beyond.”

He grew up in York City and attended William Penn Senior High School, which is where fellow York College graduate, Calvin Weary ‘99, CEO of Weary Arts Group, helped him find his way to filmmaking and away from the potential negative influences that surrounded him. Weary was the director of the William Penn Performing Arts Institute, of which Santiago was a student.

“In the type of environment that I grew up in, it would’ve been easy for me to get into certain things that would’ve kept me in trouble and going into the wrong path,” Santiago said. “Once I found my love of filmmaking, I obsessed over it and nothing else really mattered to me. Focusing on my craft really left no time to get into other activities that would lead to negativity, this is all I wanted to do.”

Santiago attended York College through the York College Community Opportunity Scholarship Program (YCCOSP) and enrolled as a Mass Communication major. Beyond learning about filmmaking as a Spartan, he learned much about himself and his future aspirations.

“York College helped me tremendously by giving me a voice that I didn’t know I had,” he said. “Being an introvert most of my life, I wanted to get out my comfort zone and be more outgoing, so I joined clubs on campus, and now have lifetime friends from school. Always being a quiet kid that grew up in the city, York College made me notice what I was meant to do on this Earth, and that’s to change lives through creativity. If it’s not through films, from educating the youth.”

Santiago has made a name for himself through C&P Media, which produced the award-winning film “Anything4U” that was selected for nine film festivals around the world. C&P also works on various projects for a number of organizations, including the York County Reentry Coalition, United Way, YCEA, and the Aspen Institute.

Outside of his work as a filmmaker, Santiago is very active in the York community. He is on the board of the Crispus Attucks Charter School and Creative York, where he is a member of the Educations and Programs Committee. He is also the cofounder, along with his cousin Anthony Collier, of the nonprofit Phoenix Media Arts Foundation, which was created to help the youth of York County learn about filmmaking. To bring filmmaking to the adult community, he and his good friend Cisco Soto also started a film festival (“Filmopolis”) in the 717 area code, where they “share each other’s films and have a talk back about the process we went through to make our imagination into reality.”

How’s Santiago feel about being recognized for his role as a “Changemaker” in his community?

“It’s an honor to be named a ‘ChangeMaker’ with so many wonderful people,” Santiago said. “This recognition means so much to me, knowing where I come from to be honored by York County is amazing! It shows the kids that grew up in my neighborhood, that there is a different route to take and you could still be successful doing what you love.”