By Pete Zamplas- Filmmaker Kira Bursky triumphed again in Music Video Asheville, winning the judges’ award for best overall video and best editing, as well for “Carolina Stomp” sung and acted by Ryan “RNB” Barber.
The 12th Annual Music Video Asheville presented by Prestige Subaru showcases collaboration of Asheville musicians and filmmakers. MVA chose 28 videos from nearly 90 submissions, coordinator Kelly Denson told a crowd that packed the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville on April 24. A panel of three film and music industry pros judged the entries and chose awards other than the crowd favorite.
Judges awarded the Best of MVA Award to Bursky and Barber, for “Carolina Stomp.” She directed the video of RNB’s R&B song, and he danced to its bouncy rhythms. Barber shared a 2017 Grammy for best children’s album, by singing with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.
Barber’s funky new CD Rejuvenation was released in mid-April.
Barber credited director Bursky’s “imagination” and video “magic.” Special effects were the calling card, in telling a light-hearted story on “Carolina Stomp.”
It looked as if Barber was sucked into a record player, shrunken then enlarged into a giant. He played basketball at a neighborhood court when tiny after sitting on the ball that dwarfed him. Later as a giant, he dropped shots down through the thigh-level hoop and lifted another player to the basket for a unique assist. All the while,
Barber’s light blue sports coat outfit changed sizes with him.
Downsized again in the end, Wilkesboro native and Fairview resident Barber danced on a record as it spun around.
Most amusing was when giant RNB seemingly rumbled about Downtown Asheville, and its architectural landmarks. He resembled dome-headed Charles “The Rotund Mound of Rebound” Barkley, the retired basketball player. It was like watching “Sir Charles” running amok.
Barber stepped toward U.S. Cellular Center (formerly the Civic Center), and the domed Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence the Deacon & Martyr. The historic 1905 Roman Catholic church’s dome is reputed to be the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America.
Country rocker Don Clayton showed even more of Asheville, with many images of structures and people in his fast-paced video “Land of the Sky.”
“Carolina Stomp” earned RNB a day of free studio time, in local Echo Mountain Recording. The video also won for best editing, by Bursky whose production company is All Around Artsy. She beat out rapper TEYG’s “No Love Lost,” C. (Chris) Shreve the Professor for the shady-toned rap “All That I Feel,” and Chuck Lichtenberger’s whacky “Vesuvius.”
TEYG, however, won the Crowd Favorite Award popularity contest from texting by audience members. The prize was $500 from Charlotte Street Computers.
Bursky’s other video in the contest was entitled “Re Entry,” for a song by E.W. Harris. Bursky related to the “reflective” theme. She used much imagery. This one was much more intense in tone, than “Carolina Stomp.” Bursky told The Tribune the main challenge of filming was an underwater duet dance scene.
She is patient, in grasping a visual thematic interpretation of someone’s song for a music video. “I might listen to the song more than 1,000 times, before the concept comes to me. I’ll listen to it just before I go to bed, so I might dream of it. Immerse myself in the song.”
After filming, Bursky refines works details with editing. She said with “Re Entry,” the first cut was mostly there and it needed mere “tweaking.”
Andrew Anderson, the guru of local hip-hop video makers, won best visual design for his imagery in Musashi Xero’s “Strawberry Fields.” Strawberries and cream was part of the abstract imagery, along with many shots of Xero. The very low-voiced hip-hop singer is in Asheville.
Best Cinematography went to the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, for jazz-rock fusion “Fake Buddha’s Inner Child” as directed by Daniel Judson. Oteil Burbridge, the two-time Grammy-winning bassist, is a guest musician on the recording of the Asheville-based band.
The dark-lit video featured Scales’ steel pan percussion in super close-ups, also mingling in a church. Scales credited Judson for visually bringing my music to life.”
Scales noted the U.S. State Department invited him to again perform overseas, as a cultural ambassador — this time in Kazakhstan, in June.
Best Soundtrack for the song went to Queen Bee and the Honeylovers, for their “Beacham’s Curve” old-styled, piano-based jazz ballad. Queen Bee beat Erica Russo’s “Bucket List,” Jonathan Scales’ “Fake Buddha’s Inner Child,” and Virtuous’ “Clarity.” Virtuous sang live, while judging was tallied.
Queen Bee is singer Whitney Moore. She and Michael Gamble co-wrote the song. The Honeylovers’ full lineup has been Mattick Frick on lead guitar and backing vocals, violinist Drayton Aldridge, pianist James Posedel, bassist Trevor Stoia, and Eric Heveron-Smith on trombone. The Asheville-based classic swing band released its debut album entitled Asheville on April 27.
Magic Hour Creative shot the video in B&W, set it in yesteryear, and used a Gray Line Trolley Tours trolley. The video was also a finalist for best cinematography.
Beacham’s Curve is a sharp curve in West Asheville, on an old electric street car route along Haywood Road. Moore heard about it from her grandfather, David Moore. She stated on Facebook the song and video “perfectly captured the old movie love story tone I dreamt of.” She said it aimed for “warmth, sincerity and poignance. It is a timeless love story. And a nod to both Asheville’s history and its future.”
The band recorded in The Eagle Room in Weaverville, of Matt “The Wizard” Williams. Moore said Williams did a “brilliant” job as he “mixed, mastered, and engineered our album, and helped us develop our signature sound in the process.”
Williams’ own video in the contest was of his whimsical “If It’s a Hit.”
Williams is lead singer and a guitarist in a concert May 2 to benefit Asheville Music School. AMS instructors, five students, and others will play The Beatles’ Revolver album in the Sound Effects Benefit Concert. AMS plays a different Beatles album each year.
The benefit is in Isis Music Hall, at 6-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. The show is expected to sell out. Info is at ashevillemusicschool.org, and isisasheville.com.
Simone Weirich will sing. Other AMS students in the show are violinists Ruby Carlson and Jayhawk Reese-Julien, saxophonist Julia Steininger, and Toby Schuetze on trumpet.
Williams told The Tribune his favorite songs off of Revolver to sing are up-tempo “Got to Get You Into My Life,” uplifting “And Your Bird Can Sing,” gritty “Taxman,” fast “Paperback Writer,” and tender ballads “For No One” and “Here, There and Everywhere.”
AMS Exec. Dir. Ryan Reardon said the playlist is from the original British album, not the U.S. version that held back some hits. The school had a table at the video gala as featured nonprofit organization, and received a portion of the event’s proceeds.