Competitive Video Music Awards proving win-win for local bands, filmmakers

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With a perpetually changing lineup and forays into punk, hip-hop, EDM and pop, Knoxville collective Oversat promotes itself and other locals through embracing verge culture. Thanks to social media and the accessibility offered by the web, Oversat core Jeremiah LongBear, King Doug and new addition Wendyann Herron recognize the growing futility of label representation and endorsements. Taking their DIY concepts to a broader level, the group has partnered with 24 Hour Film Festival co-founder Rachel Bodenbender and Carleo Entertainment to further integrate the aspiring entertainers of Knoxville’s music and film circles, introducing The Competitive Video Music Awards (CVMAs) into this year’s Knoxville’s Music and Film Festival.

“Music videos are so pivotal now,” assesses LongBear. “That’s one of the top consumable medias for band discovery now. We were working on some music videos, and I thought, ‘I know some really good bands with really dope songs who don’t have videos of any kind, so why don’t they?’ So, what if we take some filmmakers who love to put things together and feed off of pressure, and put them together with some of these great bands that need videos and just help them both out. It’s what we do with our own music; we know people who professionally make logos and people who do videography and sound, so it was a good translation to use what we know to help other people.

“Rachel (Bodenbender) and I have been talking for a couple of years about having a music video competition. So when they started to expand the 24 Hour Film Festival into a larger film festival, we started talking about actually doing it this year. It’s a perfect fit. “

After a lengthy selection process, music submittals were whittled down to 12 tracks from different artists, which have been presented to local filmmakers. Then, a randomized order of filmmakers will take their picks from a diverse field of bands, including LiL iFFy, Crumbsnatchers, Jack Rentfro and the Apocalypso Quartet, Deconbrio, Johnny Astro and the Big Bang, and many others. The teams will have four days to work with their respective artists to shoot a corresponding video. The only stipulations are that each band must make an appearance in the video, and that creative control ultimately resides with the filmmakers.

“We had over 70 bands send songs during the submission period in April,” recalls LongBear. “We picked a group of those songs to have videos made. I did a lot of legwork reaching out to various networks of musicians, and we have tons of genres represented. We ended up selecting 12 for the first year.

“When we kick off at The Speakeasy (Preservation Pub), we’ll draw all the filmmakers’ names out of a hat, and they’ll pick the song they want. From what I’m hearing, there’s not much crossover. A lot of the filmmakers have their eyes on a song, and not many seem to have their eyes on the same song. ... The creative decisions end with the filmmakers, but they can’t do anything the band has specifically asked them not to do. I’m pretty interested to hear them fight it out. These are going to be some big personalities that have big visions that may not be what each other had in mind.”

Once produced, the videos will be presented to a four-judge panel, and rated on creativity, vision, performance and technical proficiency. Among the CVMA award categories are audience choice, emerging filmmaker, technical proficiency and the Best Picture Award, whose winner will receive a gift bag and have his/her video featured at the 24 Hour Film Festival red carpet ceremony. Cliche as it sounds, all contestants will be winners, receiving free video adaptations of their music to further the exposure of both the local musicians and filmmakers, all while strengthening the unity and collaboration of Knoxville’s entertainment community.

“Our judges are awesome,” says LongBear. “I’m so excited about our judges. Our first judge is Carl Marino, the star of the hit show ‘Homicide Hunter.’ We’ve got Oz Kirk from 94.3, The X. I’ve got Arny Schorr, who founded the video department of Rhino Records and has his own label (S’more Entertainment) now. Our last judge is Michael DeMeritt, the first assistant director for The Directors Guild of America who is well known for his work on several ‘Star Trek’ series.

“For this type of awards, we’re not going for a lot of goods and services-type awards. Since it’s a team of filmmakers and bands, there aren’t a lot of logical specialty prizes, so a lot of it is prestige-based. They get a music video and hopefully some exposure or new clients. It’s all about community. Everybody wants to win.”

Thursday, June 13, The Competitive Video Music Awards viewing and awards show will be held at Southbound, with live music and an after party to follow. Doors open at 6 p.m., with viewing to start at 7, and sets from Oversat, Crackteam, and DJs Kandyann, Staticburn and Sir Ill beginning at 9:30. Admission to the event is $10 or $18 for VIP passes.

No ‘Roo-gmarole: Saturday night Preservation Pub hosts its Bonnaroo Pre-Game Party. Experience all of the music and none of the ‘Roo goo, with performances from Maps Need Reading, Crumbsnatchers, Static Revival, Mobility Chief, Tree Tops, Appalachian Fury and Deep Green. Music starts at 7 .pm. and costs $5 at the door.

Sweet Life on deck: Zac and Kota’s Sweet Life takes the stage at The Well Saturday night, joining Gamenight and Spades Cooley for a 10 p.m. show. Admission is $5.

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