Jeremy A. Lopez’s documentary, One for ALL: The DJ Chris Villa Story, takes into the world of competitive DJ-ing, but this is not your typical sports or music documentary.
As the title suggests, this is about one of the nation’s top competitive DJs Chris Villa. One for ALL follows Villa’s journey in taking the top spot of his craft at the U.S. finals of the Red Bull 3Style World Championship. What makes Chris Villa an unusual subject for a music or sports documentary is that, for all intent and purpose, he’s a straight-laced, level-head dude with a fantastic talent as a DJ.
Born and raised in Arizona, Chris Villa was into breakdancing and hip-hop alongside his brothers. As a pre-teen, Villa walked into his local Guitar Center and started goofing off on the DJ equipment. Instantly Villa and those around him realized he had a talent for DJ, which led to appearances on local television and radio stations as this wunderkind.
Villa’s skills as a DJ did nothing be grow exponentially. Instead, he quickly found he could turn professional. He found steady work on the radio, and at one point, Chris was competing with his brother Matthew as a DJ on a rival station. What’s clear is that Villa loves music and loves to DJ. Yet, unlike many others in his profession, Villa chose to live a straight-edge life—no drugs, no alcohol, and no philandering. Villa is deeply dedicated to his wife and children.
“…follows Villa’s journey in taking the top spot of his craft at the U.S. finals of the Red Bull 3Style World Championship.
If there is any criticism of One for ALL: The DJ Chris Villa Story, it’s that this guy is too nice of a person and could really use an addiction or two to spice up the story. Stuff you’d never wish on your worst enemy.
In lieu of a dark past, One for All features extensive videos of Chris Villa in action, comprising a significant portion of the film. I’ll be honest. I have a newfound appreciation for the art of the DJ. Performances of note include an early video has an older teen working a set at a radio station, and his take on Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean is incredible.
The rest of the film features talking with interviews with Chris Villa, his wife Tara, his father, and many of his friends and associates. Documentarian Jeremy A. Lopez is able to dig deep into why Villa is as good as he is by giving us a glimpse into his philosophy of music. What stuck out to me was Villa’s willingness to embrace all styles of music and extract the art no matter its origins.
The film’s back end covers Villa’s attempt to represent the United States at the Red Bull 3Style World Championship in Taipei, Taiwan. Here Villa must perform a set judged on originality, music selection, technical skill, and crowd response (judged live and on the net). Again, Villa displays a confident uncertainty leading up to the competition. Skill-wise he’s ready to go, but his set is never finalized until the actual performance. I’ll also add to the mix Villa’s wife, Tara, is great as she’s 1000% behind her husband and takes down the other competitors. It’s amazing.
I don’t know much about the art of the DJ. One for ALL: The DJ Chris Villa Story serves as an excellent primer to what’s under the hood of a DJ and why this art form is as popular as it is. Deep down, it’s a story of passion, dedication, and Villa’s pursuit of the top prize in his industry.