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The Empty Iris is Jonny Santana’s second feature-length film. He began writing and shooting the film at 17 years old in December of 2015. After almost two years of hard work the film had it’s first two screenings on September 22 2017 at Balboa Park. It then continued to play in San  Diego theaters for the following months until it landed on Amazon for distribution.

The movie exists in a universe filled with tragedy and beautifully surreal symbolic dream sequences.

The Empty Iris is a film about a reserved and philosophical blind teenager named Adam Homer and his rebellious and troubled best friend Donnie Hammurabi. After a tragic kidnapping, the movie follows both characters down separate plot lines:  Adam begins to chase a vision he has been having, and Donnie deals with deep-rooted guilt and plans a revenge scheme.

This movie deals with the issues of coming of age, loss of innocence, and the debate of whether it’s better to view the world for it’s beauty or malice. It’s gritty, beautiful, and filled with visual symbolism.


The film screened twice at Balboa Park on September 22, 2017- at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. The night was a dream come true to the young cast and crew of the film. Over 400 people attended the screenings.

After the film had screened the After Party gave the night a beautiful send off. San Diego’s community of musicians and artists were organized for the event. A  curated art gallery containing art inspired by the film towered beautifully in the venue. And the local musicians featured in the film played live on stage. Over 200 people came to the After Party to support everybody.

It was a beautiful experience and more events for the film will be organized in the future.

Two months after the Balboa Park screening, SoutherWestern College invited Jonny Santana and his team to screen The Empty Iris to a packed house for the community.

A very thoughtful Q&A followed the screening.


A few months after the SouthWestern screening “The Empty Iris” was selected to play at the san diego film festival.

The team was proud to showcase the film once again!

Over a hundred people contributed to the making of this film.  What makes “The Empty Iris” so special is that it is a feature length movie made by teenagers.  There was no studio dictating the team’s every move; the film is completely a product of a collaboration of many young and highly creative minds. And the challenge of putting together the two hour epic was tackled by such a young group with flying colors.

Jonny Santana is very proud to say that they assembled very dedicated, passionate, and aspiring young talents from the San Diego area to volunteer their time on this production. Everyone on set contributed to this film because of their passions and the strong visions they had for their future careers.

Most of the team had just gotten out of high school and several members of the team actually still were in high school. What they all shared was the dream to make movies. “The Empty Iris” made that dream is coming true.

Every single human being on this planet has dreams. What separates those who attain their dreams from those who don’t is the fact that very little people actually go all out and take action. I hope this film and the story of it’s production inspires all the dreamers out there to take action, create what they want to create, and attain the life they’ve always wanted!