Carlos Santana Had Two Conditions To Agree To Have A Documentary Based On Him

via Kyle Hellie / Youtube

Carlos Santana, the legendary guitarist and musician, has finally agreed to have a documentary made about his life and career. After being approached numerous times in the past, Santana found the right fit with Imagine Documentaries and director Rudy Valdez. The documentary, titled “Carlos,” premiered at the Tribeca Festival and promises to showcase Santana’s journey in a way that aligns with his vision and values. Santana’s conditions for participation were met, granting him ownership of the film and creative control over its content.

Telling the Story His Way

“I said, ‘I want to own my own movie; I don’t want to have to ask your permission, later on, to show my movie in some other kind of form,'” Santana tells UCR. “‘And I want to have a say-so on the beginning, middle and end, how I’m being presented.’ And Imagine came back, I guess they talked amongst themselves, and said, ‘OK, we decided we want to do this.’ I said, ‘OK, then. Let’s do it.'”

A Film About Triumph, Glory, and Victory

“I didn’t want it to be this poor little thing and another victim mentality and this predictable, pathetic human being who people can hardly wait for him to die so he doesn’t suffer anymore,” said Santana. “I think we have enough of that.”

“I want this to be about all the ingredients, components and elements and especially the discipline, the education my mother instilled in my head and in my heart so I wouldn’t disappoint myself, my family or the people.”

Capturing Santana’s Essence

“This film is called Carlos, not Santana,” Valdez explains. “It’s about Carlos. I want it to feel like you’re hearing the story from him. You’re experiencing this amazing life and journey and career, both musical and spiritual, through his eyes, through his voice, through his music, through his guitar. I wanted it to feel that way.”

“It reminded us you’re with a man. He’s not just playing a guitar on a stage in front of 80,000 people at night; sometimes he’s sitting and playing the guitar by himself. That’s what he does. It was so intimate. … It became in a lot of ways the backbone of the film.”

“He talks about metaphors and spirits and all these things that sound out there to some people, but he’s absolutely sincere about it,” Valdez says. “He’s lived such a phenomenal life as a musician and as a person, constantly chasing this sort of spirituality and elevated consciousness. Those things aren’t compartmentalized in his life; they all ebb and flow with everything he does.”

Beyond Hollywood Standards

“I think the best thing I can think about it is once [Valdez] realized the frequency and the standards that I wanted, it just sailed. I like that [Carlos] has a very, very uplifting and inspiring flow.”

Continued Musical Exploration

“I don’t want to call it jazz because that’s the wrong terminology,” Santana says. “Wayne Shorter called it ‘I dare you music.’ That’s what we did with [1972’s] Caravanserai and I’ve done it a couple times, where I know there’s not a single within 1,000 miles from it – but that’s not gonna stop us. Sometimes you just need to make a statement.”

“I want to explore and discover new ways to give people chills, make people smile and cry, new melodies,” Santana added. “I’ve been listening a lot to Nina Simone, Etta James and Tina Turner because I want to get that essence that they have in their sound. That’s where I’m headed next.”

“Carlos,” the documentary about Carlos Santana’s life and career, showcases the journey of a legendary musician on his own terms. By embracing ownership and creative control, Santana ensures that his story is presented authentically, emphasizing triumph and inspiration over victimhood