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Grace Santos is an actor, attorney, executive, and producer.
Producing credits include award winning productions such as the post apocalyptic drama “Odessa” with David Moscow (“Big”), “Silk” by Catherine Dent (“The Shield”) and starring Oscar Nominee and Emmy Winner Shohreh Aghdashloo, “Election Night” by Tessa Blake and starring Peri Gilpin (“Frasier”), the comedy “Spun”, “Bree Does Comedy” (a comedy web series starring Bree Olson, Kimberly McVicar, and Grace Santos, and obtained 30,000 subscribers in its first week), the comedy horror “Ripe N Bloody” aka “A Tricky Treat” by Patricia Chica, the fantasy webseries “Last Life” by Elesha Barnette, and “Filtered” the musical feature film by S. Roy Saringo & Katie Combs.
Grace is VP of Business Affairs and Operations at Gamechanger Films (CEO Effie T. Brown; “The Invitation”, “The Tale”). Prior Executive Work: Business Affairs Executive and Creative Development Executive for Patriot Pictures LLC (a finance and production company by Michael Mendelsohn, “Cut Throat City”, “Synchronic”). As Vice President of Business Affairs for companies owned by Producer Steven Paul (“Ghost Rider”, “Tekken”), Grace has negotiated development, production, domestic distribution, and foreign sales agreements. Grace was also Vice President of Business Affairs for the Bentonville Film Festival, co-founded by Academy Award Winner Geena Davis, with a mission to promote women and people of color in media and entertainment by providing distribution offers through its sponsors AMC Theatres and Lionsgate. When Grace worked for Image Entertainment / RLJ Entertainment, One Village / Urban Movie Channel / ALLBLK (both are now divisions of AMC Networks), she was mentioned several times in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety for closing multi-million dollar deals such as “The Rewrite” starring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei, “Pay The Ghost” starring Nicolas Cage, and “Bone Tomahawk” starring Kurt Russell. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Grace worked as General Counsel for Paragon Capital Partners, an investment company by CEO Santosh Govindaraju. Grace also founded the Asian Pacific American Scene Inc (APASI Productions), the first nonprofit production company in Florida whose purpose is to promote Asian American stories and American actors, artists, filmmakers, and theatre-makers that are of Asian descent. Her first Hollywood opportunity was interning for the creative development team at Silver Pictures / Dark Castle Entertainment and working as a Teaching Assistant for the UCLA Professional Programs in Producing and Television Writing. Grace founded Ethos Pictures LLC.
During Grace’s education and attorney and filmmaking work, Grace has always been an actor and member of the actor union and guild. She has been in numerous plays, commercials, new media projects, and films. Grace also won Best Actor from Creative Loafing for her role in Tony Award winner Neil Labute’s “Reasons to Be Pretty”. For her role in “Odessa”, film critic Richard Propes writes “Grace Santos is the focus here as Estrella. Santos avoids histrionics. She trusts this story to be ‘enough.’ She gets it. She understands it. You can see it in her eyes and her body language and as she speaks Doug Johnson’s sparse yet intentional dialogue. There’s a ‘What if?’ around every corner and Santos captures that unknowing, that fear, and that doubt.”
Early life and family
Grace was born in Paterson, New Jersey, then moved to Tampa, Florida at the age of nine, and earned the International Baccalaureate diploma from King High School. Her parents owned a laundromat business and also founded Filipino-American Christian churches in different areas. Grace has one sister, Joy, who is a relationship counselor.
Grace was a professional dancer for the Philippine Performing Arts Company, touring internationally by the time she was in middle school. After Thespians in high school, Grace started performing in professional theatre and booking commercials such as the national T-Mobile campaign directed by Spike Lee. Her performance in Tony Award-winner Neil Labute’s “Reasons to Be Pretty” won Grace the Best Actress Award by arts publication Creative Loafing. But she learned that there weren’t a lot of roles with depth for her “type” – female Filipina-American. So she decided to also study law and tv/film production to help create more of those roles.
She earned a BA from the University of Miami, majoring in Religious Studies and International Studies, and minoring in Theatre Arts. During her undergraduate studies, she also studied for one year at Flinders University of South Australia’s Drama Centre. Then she earned a JD from Stetson University, and a Certificate in Production from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.
Grace is a single mom to a daughter. They currently live in Los Angeles, take martial arts classes together, and co-founded a nonprofit to help single moms and their families.
Awards & Press References
- Grace wins the audience award for Best Actress in arts publication Creative Loafing, for her performance in Tony award winner Neil Labute’s “Reasons to Be Pretty” (2011).
- Grace is awarded Stetson’s Officer of the Year Award, Pro Bono Award, Public Interest Award, Most Spirited Award.
- “Change to Spare” was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Producers Guild of America Weekend Competition (2012)
- “Spun” was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Producers Guild of America Weekend Competition (2013)
- “Geronimo” actress Hannah Swain won Best Actress at the 34th Annual Young Artist Awards for her role in “Geronimo” (2013)
- “Silk” won the Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking Award at the 14th Annual New Port Beach Film Festival (2013)
- “Silk” was a National Short Film Competition Finalist at the 43rd Annual USA Film Festival (2013)
- “Silk” won Best Student Short Film at Bend Film Festival (2013)
- “Silk” won Best Student Short Film at San Luis Obispo Festival (2014)
- “Election Night” was named Indiewire’s Project of the Day (2014)
- “Odessa” wins the Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at the 11th Annual Gasparilla International Film Festival (2015)
- “Odessa” wins the Silver Remi Award for a Drama at the 48th Annual Worldfest (2015)
- “Odessa” wins Best Sci Fi Short Film at the 15th Annual Santa Fe Film Festival (2015)
- “Odessa” is an Official Selection of the following festivals: Gasparilla International Film Festival, Cannes Short Corner, Worldfest, Plaza Classic Film Festival, Hollyshorts Film Festival, Wasteland Film Festival, Louisville Festival of Film, Savannah Film Festival, Santa Fe Film Festival (2015)
- “Election Night” is an Official Selection of the Cannes American Pavillion for Emerging Filmmakers Showcase (2015)
- “Election Night” wins the Local Jury Award at the 45th Annual USA Film Festival (2015)
- Grace becomes a participant in the competitive Producers Guild of America Power of Diversity Program for “The International Sweethearts of Rhythm” written by and co-produced by Elesha Barnette and produced by Grace, her company (Ethos Pictures), and Patriot Pictures (2020)
Grace mentioned in Variety for working on the US rights to “The Rewrite” starring Hugh Grant and Marissa Tomei (Grace’s legal side):
Grace mentioned in The Hollywood Reporter for working on the US rights to “The Rewrite” starring Hugh Grant and Marissa Tomei (Grace’s legal side):
Grace mentioned in Deadline Hollywood for working on the US and Canadian rights to “Bone Tomahawk” starring Kurt Russell (Grace’s legal side): http://deadline.com/2015/08/bone-tomahawk-deal-kurt-russell-rlj-entertainment-fantastic-fest-1201491458/
Grace mentioned in Deadline Hollywood for working on the US rights to “Pay The Ghost” starring Nicolas Cage (Grace’s legal side): http://deadline.com/2015/08/nicolas-cages-pay-the-ghost-rlj-entertainment-xlrator-mateo-for-august-release-1201493622/
Grace mentioned in Screen Daily for working on the US rights to “Misfire” starring Gary Daniels (Grace’s legal side):
Grace mentioned in Dread Central for Zombieworld (Grace’s legal side):
Grace mentioned in Indiewire for producing “Ripe N Bloody” for Women in Horror Month PSA (Grace’s producing side):
Grace mentioned in Indiewire for producing the Project of the Day “Election Night” starring Peri Gilpin (Grace’s producing side):
Film Reviews About “Odessa”, an award winning short film and a tv series pitch that Grace produced and starred in:
“Odessa Makes You Think and Feel.” – Richard Propes, The Independent Critic
Odessa “has a post apocalyptic beauty that can only be rivaled by films like THE ROVER, THE ROAD and of course the MAD MAX franchise.” “Not only do I want to see more of ODESSA I feel that this could be the type of show that could change our way of thought in the future.” – Travis Brown, Horror Movies Uncut
“This taut, gripping, short film horrified me more for its relevant, real-word authenticity …” – Damsals With Chainsaws
“Two very talented main actors take the lead and set the tone for one of the best short films I’ve seen in a while, both Ricky Wayne and Grace Santos work well together and are two fascinating actors to watch.” – The Scream Review
“Aside from its crisp production value, Odessa – a short film mind you – accomplished what the majority of today’s features lack: It made me think, feel, and most importantly, want to explore more of the world the filmmakers and actors created”, says Joe Belcastro of the Florida Film Critics Circle and the Southeastern Film Critics Association, a member of the Gasparilla International Film Festival 2015 Grand Jury.
Community and Causes
Some people call Grace a social activist and she has been awarded the Public Interest Award, Pro Bono Award, Organizational Officer of the Year, among other awards, for her work as an Election Protection volunteer, environmental clean-up groups, and strong stance for welfare programs. Grace co-founded a nonprofit with her daughter, Grace Faith, Inc., to help single moms and their children.