Canyon View wrestler Frankie Villanueva has movie aspirations


Waddell Canyon View wrestler Frankie Villanueva is an All-American.

Not on the carpet. In the cinema.

His one-and-a-half-minute video, titled “A Letter to Wrestling,” earned him a nomination for the All-American High School Film Festival in the action sports category.

Out of hundreds of submitted videos from around the world, hers was among the top 22 chosen. He will find out in New York at a three-day film festival and workshop, October 21-23, if his video wins. His video will be shown on the big screen at AMC Empire 25 in Times Square.

He has a chance to win a scholarship for a film school.

“It’s something I really want to pursue,” said Villanueva, a junior, who hopes to qualify for the next wrestling season in the 145-pound weight class. “It’s something that I really enjoy. I see myself doing it with no problem. For some reason, when it comes to film, it’s just enjoyable for me. No stress.”

Canyon View wrestling coach Joey Ortiz asked Villanueva last season to do a video tribute and farewell to the team’s only senior, Ben Market, who reads a letter in a dark wrestling room and empty, about what the struggle has done for him.

Villanueva mixes the music he produced with action footage from Market on the mat catch as Market reads the letter. Market was a transfer from Phoenix Desert Vista, whose ratings reversed during his wrestling season for Canyon View, where he placed fourth in his weight class at the state.

He was to play only at the post-season banquet.

But Jeff Seeker, a film and television teacher at the school, convinced Villanueva to enter the All-American film festival. He was chosen as a runner-up, much to Villanueva’s surprise. His was one of four videos submitted by Canyon View. He was the only one selected.

“He was in my class,” Seeker said. “The team wanted him to do something for the banquet. We ended up making it a class assignment. But it was his concept. He was alone. It was all him.”

Seeker submitted the video, which couldn’t be longer than five minutes in the action sports category.

Now he’s making fall plans for New York if he can raise the money.

“Frank is doing triple duty,” Ortiz said. “He’s got his hands on everything. He makes music in his spare time. He’s in the wrestling room with us all the time.”

Ortiz, a former wrestler who grew up in the Northwest Valley, said he was inspired by the NCAA Dear Wrestling video he saw.

He went to Villanueva with the idea of ​​making a video, knowing that the child was the extraordinary school video.

Canyon View wrestler Frankie Villanueva aspires to become a filmmaker

“I said, ‘Hey, Frank, here’s my idea, this is what I want to do,’ and we put it together,” Ortiz said. “He did all the editing. He did all the music, the lighting. He did everything. It was fantastic.”

The next idea he pitches to Villanueva is a video about parents talking about what wrestling meant in their lives and how it was passed on to their children.

“I have kids who have struggled their whole lives,” Ortiz said. “These kids, I have their parents. I talked to them about writing letters to their kids. We’re going to film them as they read their parents’ letters. We’re going to give it to them.

“We’re going to play them at our banquets. I think kids and parents will love it.”

Villanueva said that for the “Letter to Wrestling” video, he asked Market to help with Ortiz’s storyline. Villanueva did the rest.

He said he had his mother criticize him. He wants her honesty.

“My mom is always there to support me and I appreciate her,” he said.

To suggest ideas for human interest stories and other news, contact Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him on Twitter @azc_obert.

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