On Tuesday night, the marriage of the San Antonio film and music communities tightened as the Riffs and Reels Music Video Showcase announced its first winner of a competition that lasted four weeks. Nine pairs of local filmmakers and musicians worked together to create original music videos that showcased both the filmmakers’ and the musicians’ talents. Hosting the event was San Antonio native Sonny Melendrez, a beloved American radio personality and former host of Magic 105.3.
There to fuel the entire project were Kelly Strait, Director of Strategy and Innovation for Santikos, Kerry Valderrama, CEO of Alamo City Studios, and Noah Breeden, CFO of San Antonio Sound Garden (SASG). As Valderrama stated, “We are happy to have a competition that blends the music industry and film industry together.” However, doing so is not exactly easy. Edwin Stephens, a leader in SASG, says that “The money part is a huge obstacle. Another one is connecting with the greater community. It’s hard sometimes to connect with the public, so having Santikos and the San Antonio community help us has been a bridge to connect the gap.”
Pre-competition, the filmmakers were allowed to make their top three choices of which musicians they could collaborate with, but in the end, each pair was a perfect match. “[SASG and Alamo City Studios] did an excellent job matching us up with the bands that best matched our style” said Rogelio Salinas, director of the music video for the band My Madness, during a panel discussion at the event. Richard Jemal, the filmmaker behind Sioux & Fox’s video, added: “I look at all the filmmakers and the bands that they got, and it really feels like it was meant to be.”
The event showcased all nine videos at Santiko’s Palladium Theater, which were followed by panels made up of the musicians and filmmakers who talked about the process of the competition, and how they hope that the event will ignite the music community of San Antonio. Many of the filmmakers agreed that the talent in San Antonio is alive and ready to grow. Projects such as this showcase will fuel the talent of our city, and give those whose voices haven’t been heard a chance to flourish. “There’s a lot of bands out there that have amazing talent, that never get the recognition that they deserve. What you feed, will grow, and what you starve, will die. We need to put focus on those with talent, those with ability, those who deserve it,” said Salinas, who encourages everyone who sees the videos to like and share them on social media.
The energy inside the room proved that the project was a huge success. As each of the bands were announced, and each filmmaker spoke, the audience would cheer and burst with applause. As he surveyed the packed theater, Volcán's Jaime Mejia enthused, “I’m looking at a room full of believers and supporters of the dream. It’s a beautiful cause.”
In the end, it was Rod Guajardo and Josh Glenn Experiment who took home the $10,000 grand prize, followed by Sam Lerma and Black Market Club in second, and Alejandro DeHoyos and Volcán in third.
All the bands and filmmakers said they hope the Riffs and Reels event will occur again next year. As one of the filmmakers stated, “So many people put so much into their craft but feel like they have to go somewhere else to grow. Now with events like this they can stay here because of the thriving film community.”
The winning music video:
For a list of all the musicians and filmmakers, click here.