The documentary Los Wild Ones directed by Elise Salomon, premiered opening night of the inaugural Reel Indie Film Fest (RIFF) in Toronto. The story follows Wild Records’ label founder Reb Kennedy and the artists associated with the L.A. based indie label. Most of the musicians Kennedy works with on the label are young Hispanic artists who identified with the rich Mexican-Californian rock ‘n’ roll tradition and have a huge following of Hispanic and Chicano youth.
“Aficionados of 50’s culture centered around Rock ‘n’ Roll music, make up a huge underground community referred to as the “Rockabilly Scene.” “The fans of this culture are passionate about music. They keep the fashion, energy and attitude of that era alive”. Wild Records really operates like a family where everyone helps look after each other. They play in each other’s bands, they hang out together and make sure everyone’s alright. Reb is not just the head of the label he is the father figure. He reprimands when he needs to, he’ll be the jerk because he has to get the best out of his artists, but when people are in a hole Reb is there for them. The segment featuring Omar and Luis, two of the label’s earliest artists, is particularly strong. Solomon gains the confidence of the artists to that they open up to her confiding their dreams, worries and concerns about the label without any sense of apprehension or shame.
While Los Wild Ones is about the label’s artists and their relationships with Kennedy, it’s also about the music industry as a whole. This touching documentary asks us to explore our own sense of nostalgia for this era.