In 2012 Tim Lillis and Jacquelyn Marker founded a project called Music Video Race. They wanted to engage the Bay Area's rich music and film communities in a fresh way, so they devised a little friendly competition. This year the tradition continues. Last Friday, June 7, bands and filmmakers were introduced to one another and sent into the world with 48 hours to film and complete a music video. This Saturday, June 15, the music videos will be on view at an event and awards show at the Richshaw Stop in San Francisco. Think MTV Video Music Awards meets independent film festival, but way cooler.
This year's panel of judges includes Cheryl Eddy, the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Senior Editor for Arts & Entertainment, Katie Gillum, Managing Director of the Disposable Film Fest, and music video director Allen Cordell, (Beach House, Waters, Cloud Nothings). A panel from Noise Pop will select the "Best Song."
Without giving away too much of the surprise, there are several great bands participating in this year's Music Video Race. Whiskerman is one of my new Bay Area favorites. The band's sound is a remarkable mix of M. Ward and Horse Feathers grounded in Appalachian blues and old-timey American folk music. The band's soulful lyrics are poetic and haunting; Whiskerman is ripe for the music video pickin'.
It doesn't get too much more enjoyable than Ash Reiter. Their pop sensibilities are refreshing and reminiscent of Dirty Projectors and Best Coast. While Fleetwood Mac can be traced as an influence, Ash Reiter has given California soft-rock a bright contemporary sound. Their videos are typically cute and quirky; whichever filmmaker they are paired with shouldn't have any trouble finding inspiration.
The wild card that I'm most excited to see is one I'm not yet familiar with. Magic Fight is based in Oakland and call themselves a "post-indie" band. Not to argue terminology, but they could easily be paired with a couple of my favorite indie bands like Grizzly Bear, Okkervil River, and Mice Parade.
The filmmakers and directors had their work cut out for them over the last couple of days. It goes with the territory to know more about the talent in front of the camera than those behind it; even the Music Video Race website contains little info about the participating filmmakers. However, I do know a few of the competitors. Vanessa Carr, a San Francisco documentarian is returning to the race after being awarded "best cinematography" in 2012 for Hot Toddies' "Hey Hey" video. Andrew Calloway has worked on music videos for bands like the Tumbleweed Wanderers, and is a skilled short documentary editor. His camerawork is confident and intriguing, building on smart story lines. I look forward to seeing what these two stir up.
The Music Video Race is a unique platform for filmmakers, directors, bands and listeners to come together to hear new music and see new videos. The event takes place this coming Saturday, June 15 at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. For tickets and information, visit rickshawstop.com. The full list of participants for 2013's Music Video Race can be found at musicvideorace.com.