Updated: May 22
Instagram was once a place where creators showcased their creativity. It was once a place where we got lost in beautiful visuals. With the transition to short form Reels, the concept of the dance visual has changed. Colombian film maker Sir Rivers (@sriversfilms) latest work is an ode to the beautiful visuals that once captivated us on the platform. A visual so beautifully shot, you are forced to stop scrolling and watch.
It is no easy task creating appealing visuals that standout from the noise of social media. That Sir Rivers achieved that in long form format is commendable. The visual is further brought to life by Colombian dancer Julio Mosquera (@julioafricandancer) whose movements beautifully convey the emotions of the song and the serenity of the setting.
We caught up with the 2 artists to talk about their latest work together: Guatapé
AFROCONEX: Sir Rivers, for those unfamiliar with who you are. Can you introduce yourself to the audience?
SIR RIVERS: I am Sir Rivers. I am an artists from Medellin, Colombia. I am a musician, film maker, and script writer.
AFROCONEX: The video is absolutely beautiful, where was the video shot and why did you choose this location ? Also, how long was the shoot ?
SIR RIVERS: Thank you. The video was shot in Guatapé, Colombia. It is a magical place about 2 hrs from Medellin. I’ve actually shot there before; so when Julio told me he wanted to do something different and unique, I recommended this location. The shoot actually took the whole day. We started early in the morning, and we finished around 6pm in the evening.
AFROCONEX: What was your inspiration for the video and what emotions did you want to convey in the video?
SIR RIVERS: My inspiration was to capture the dance in a way that created an emotional reaction with the viewer. Julio is such a great dancer, and I wanted to make sure that his dance and the emotions in his dance were well captured. I want the viewer to feel and connect with his emotions. I love to create this type of content because I can be more free with the camera movement. Like for the drone shots, I am able to go very wide and capture the openness of the space, giving the viewer a sense of freedom. That feeling of freeness was definitely also something I wanted people to feel when they watch this video.
AFROCONEX: Julio is an amazing dancer and he embodies the mood of the film. Why did you select Julio for this piece?
SIR RIVERS: I met Julio through a music producer name Killabeatmaker (@killabeatmaker). I shot a video for Killabeatmaker and Julio was the dancer in the video. At the shoot, Julio and I had a connection because he showed so much passion, professionalism and dedication for his art. Since then we have worked together to create these types of videos; we have actually done 3 previous videos. So, I was very familiar with Julio and knew his work, and I look forward to doing more of these projects in the future with him.
AFROCONEX: Was the video shot and edited by you? And how important is color in your editing ?
SIR RIVERS: Yes, I am a DP (Photography Director) so I shoot and edit. Color is important because it is a way to finish the project. Of course it is done post production, not in the moment of filming. Color helps to create a specific look and feel to the film. With most of my work, I like to use colors that create a warm look.
AFROCONEX: We know you as a versatile dancer skilled in various Afro dance genres. Tell us about the inspiration for your movement in this video ?
JULIO: My inspiration for this video was to tell a part of my story without having to speak. I want the audience to see me, and feel who I am. And I want to convey a message that I am more than just a dancer dancing.
AFROCONEX: The emotions of the song marry well with both your dance and the scenery. Was the song choice yours or the videographers ? And why this song ?
JULIO: I chose this song ( Iyamemeza by Dj Somebody) for the video because I really like Amapiano music. I am also a big fan of Amapiano dance. I really like the musicality in the dance and it is a style that I practice a lot. As you know it is from South Africa. So, I was looking for a song that would work with my freestyle, something that identifies me, and allows me to feel and express myself much more than I am use to; and that's why I chose the song.
AFROCONEX: For a shoot like this how do you prepare yourself mentally and physically ?
JULIO: I try to be focused so that everything flows in the best way. I begin to explore my body through my thoughts and emotions. I try to connect with the land, the water, everything that I may have around me to feel safer and create fantastic movements.
AFROCONEX: We see strong and powerful Afro dance coming out of Colombia and you are one of the dancers pushing the genre in Medellin. What can you tell us about Afro dance in Medellin ?
JULIO: I am one of the Afro dancers who started to teach this culture in my hometown Medellin. Afro was not so well known. I began to see it on YouTube videos and also through some friends from Venezuela who settled in Medellin. I began training with several friends and did a lot of research on the dance which i feel connected to because of our roots. Jamaifrica was the first event I attended. I took Afro classes with national and international teachers and it was incredible. Since then, people have been getting to know Afro much more in the city. Today I am an Afro teacher. I teach classes in several academies in Medellín and the styles that I execute the most are Afrohouse and Amapiano.
AFROCONEX: Your caption for this video post is very candid. I felt a deeper connection to you after reading it. Was it difficult for you to open up like that on social media about your hardships and dreams ?
JULIO: The process has been one of great resistance due to everything I have lived through. However, it was in this way that I began to make myself known step by step. I thank all the people who have accompanied me along the way. I will continue creating and sharing with much love
Be sure to follow Sir Rivers and Julio