One for All: The DJ Chris Villa Story
Director: Jeremy A. Lopez
Time: 110 minutes
Review by Mike Szymanski
You can figure out how most documentaries will end. There may be facts that surprise and motivate you, but you generally know the slant of the doc and how it’s all going to end up.
This is a documentary that will surprise you, endear you and really get you involved as one of the audience members of this DJ and his family. Watch it with friends, because by the end you will stand up and cheer with them in the film.
This the story of DJ Chris Villa. Now, I’m not a fan of disk jockeys necessarily, and the only slight involvement I’ve ever known is that my nephew is dabbling in it, but I’ve never seen him perform live, and don’t know the scene, but this documentary makes it all look rather fascinating.
DJ Chris Villa seems like a normal guy who has been spinning, and scratching, records since he was a kid. At the age of 13, he was discovered by radio personality Davey D at the Guitar Center in his hometown in Phoenix and got his first gig on Power 92.3 FM.
What’s fascinating is that director Jeremy A. Lopez wasn’t necessarily a DJ fan either.
Lopez admits: “Full disclosure, I was not (and now for the most part am not) a DJ fan. While I am a fan of music, I never had a favorite DJ nor followed DJ culture.”
It turns out Lopez went to the same high school as Villa and they knew each other peripherally. Lopez had five sisters about the same age as the Villa five brothers.
The director says, “I reached out to him about shooting a documentary. I knew he had a substantial following and an impressive resume, and my initial ambition was just to chronicle a few of his gigs and produce something to cater to his fans and the broader DJ crowd. I was definitely not prepared for how his story was to unfold in late 2018.”
It’s truly an explosive and fascinating story, along with some fascinating mystical qualities to it, too.
Lopez reflects what the audience will feel about DJ Chris Villa with this documentary, “I fell in love with Chris’ passion for his craft, and the example he sets in his relationships with his powerhouse wife Terra, their two children, and the rest of the Villa clan. In a career that seemingly couldn’t be more at odds with a healthy personal and family life, Chris demolishes the DJ stereotype and serves as an inspiration for good-hearted people in our divided world.”
Sure, the stereotype is that the DJ world is filled with late-night clubs, drinking, drugs and sex. DJ Chris Villa as a humble, soft-spoken dad will burst those misconceptions. He literally turns the tables of the turntable DJ stereotype.
Less than a week after Lopez and his crew began shooting the Villa story, he got picked as one of six finalists in the Red Bull 3Style World Championship. It’s sort of like the Olympics of DJ-ing or the Oscars of DJ Performing.
The taping of the interviews with the family, particularly with Chris and his father Eddie, get a bit bizarre, sad and intriguing especially when Chris talks about his late mother who died of cancer. Yes, odd things happen during the taping, and we are there to witness it all.
DJ Chris Villa has opened for Drake, Usher, Pitfall and became the “Official DJ” of professional sports teams such as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, and the Arizona Cardinals (as of 2021). Chris is known as a world-renown turntablist for his technical scratching and mixing ability, and has been featured on national shows with Sean “Diddy” Combs and Tino Cochino.
His beautiful wife Terra talks about how they met when she was the new girl in high school and she’d watch him DJ at lunchtime in school. She is also his biggest and most strident fan, always in the audience, always having his back.
In video of his first professional gig at 13, he is shown a bit nervous, but saying, “I’m all improv,” and blowing away other radio professionals with his young talent.
His irrepressible family and friendships reflect his very giving character. Even his fellow competitors as DJs are close friends. In fact, during the competition, they all diss and poke fun at him during their 15 minutes on the floor. He only teases one of them back, who is one of his best friends.
Other up-and-coming DJs featured in this doc include DJ Matt Villa, DJ Javin, DJ J. Espinosa, DJ Dynamix DJ ADMC, DJ IFTW and DJ Domino.
The sets of the other DJs are shown in part, but the full 15 minutes of performing by DJ Chris Villa is played. You can witness first-hand his artistry in mixing different styles of music, and see how this is truly an art form into itself.
You may not fall in love with the DJ scene after watching this, but you will definitely fall in love with DJ Chris Villa and his family.
See the documentary now on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Youtube Movies and Tubi TV.
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