Announcing the Winners of Musicbed Challenge 2023

Watch this year's top-scoring submissions from the Musicbed Challenge 2023, along with the crowd-favorite People's Choice.

2023 Musicbed Challenge Winners Announcement

And just like that—we’ve wrapped up another Musicbed Challenge. We’re blown away by the submissions each year, and 2023 was certainly no exception. A massive thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s short film competition.

Now let’s watch this year’s top-scored films and hear more from the judges and the winners that are taking home their share of $100K in grants and gear.


Re (short film), Kyna Media Films

Featured Musicbed Music

“Handsome” by Barbara Pittman

“Unrequited” by Steven Gutheinz

“Introduction” by The Ember Days

“Yesterday She Told Me She Was Leaving” by Ken Lowrey

“The Idea That Was Stolen Away” by Dexter Britain

“Gold” by Soldier Story


Writer/Director: Kyndra Kennedy

Cinematographer/Editor: Kenneth Cuadrado

Production Company: Kyna Media Films


Camille: Kyndra Kennedy

Colleague: Conrad Pruitt Jr.

Sister: Jesseca Logan

Spouse: Domonic Dunlap

Mom: Nancy Pruitt-Williams

Friend: Julian Pruitt

Dad: Conrad Pruitt Sr.

Sponsor: James Williams N/A


“Overall, the film’s execution was strong and elicited a powerful emotional response. I thought the answering machine voice-over was a creative way to narrate Camille’s downward spiral. The lead actress’s performance was strong as well. The visual storytelling was interesting and enhanced the narrative. The score and sound design always felt motivated and seamless. I think this is the strongest film out of all the finalists.”

Natalie Kingston

“I loved the delicate approach to the character work and balance of the story.”

Dumas Haddad


Founded by Kyndra Kennedy, Kyna Media Group is an independent film production company based in North Hollywood, California. When we contacted Kyndra to share the news, we took the opportunity to ask her more about the film. 

MUSICBED: Where did your idea/concept come from?

KYNDRA: I wrote the first draft of the script in 2021, but I hadn’t touched it since. I’ve been wanting to talk about alcohol addiction, because alcohol use is socially accepted (and encouraged) and addiction can therefore be hard to detect. It can be particularly difficult to overcome when it’s used to cope with tragedy and trauma.

The purpose of the film is to inspire us to have more compassion for people who are struggling. We don’t always know what people are going through, we rarely get all the backstory, and even those closest to them can be in the dark. We all know the saying, “Misery loves company” but there’s another side of misery that tends to isolate. Isolation is a major theme in this film, so the world of the story needed to feel small and contained. Therefore, it takes place mainly in one location, where the only character you see is our struggling protagonist and the only voices you hear are those who are closest to her, who can’t reach her as she spirals down.

I heard someone say that it took them seven years to get one year sober, and those words stayed with me. They inspired the closing monologue and the title of the film. The title, Re, is really open to interpretation, representing the cyclical nature of the journey to recovery, which can include a series of relapses, regret, rehabilitation, renewal, rebirth, etc.

On a personal note, this concept was also inspired by the choice I made five years ago to be sober. This story has some parallels to my real life. That’s part of the reason I asked my friends and family to be the voices leaving messages to my character. They really are my support circle. While I didn’t have it nearly as hard as my character, pain is pain and I’ve been there before. No matter what your rock bottom may be, it is possible to heal. There could be someone who sees this film and is inspired to take the first step toward sobriety and healing. That is my hope for Re.

MUSICBED: What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome for this film?

KYNDRA: Time was the biggest obstacle mostly because we decided to film this guerilla-style with just the two of us, me and the DP. We chose this story for the challenge because we thought it would be easy to shoot. It seemed super low-key and straightforward. However, the setup time for these scenes took a lot longer than we anticipated. Scenes that I thought would take an hour ended up taking 3-4 hours. There were so many details to manage even with such a simple story that takes place mostly in one location. Having even one more person to help us would’ve made a huge difference.

The reality was that we had way too many shots planned. On paper, they all seemed doable. But with only 2 people, we were biting off way more than we can chew. As the deadline approached, I had to go through the script and cut scenes that weren’t essential to the story. I had to figure out if I can make the same point with fewer shots. In the beginning, all the scenes felt so essential, they all had a purpose, but when it came down to what we can pull off in time, I had to start making tough decisions and couldn’t get all the shots I really wanted.

Even with what we filmed, we had a lot of cool moments that just didn’t make the cut, because the runtime was going over ten minutes. Our first rough cut was 15 minutes, and I had less than a day to figure out how to cut it down without losing the essence of the story.

If we would’ve known how difficult this was going to be, we would’ve probably talked ourselves out of doing it. By the time we realized we were in over our heads, it was too late to turn back, we had to see it all the way through. Thankfully things came together at the last minute. And the limitations inspired some creative solutions that work better than the original idea.


Hot or Iced?, Always, You’re Going to Save the World, “The Chosen One”


“Before Becoming a Star”Pedro Nogueira

Featured Musicbed Music

“The Final Shore” by Jordan Critz


Director/Screenwriter/Editor: Pedro Nogueira

Storyteller: Olivia Senges Nogueira


“Talk about chills! This short doc is simply wonderful. Such emotional, thoughtful, and meaningful storytelling. It is so rare to celebrate the birth of children through the eyes of another child. The music use was perfect. And the shot selection/editing was lovely.”

Samantha Stamler

“This was really beautiful, and obviously deeply personal. Was special as a viewer to feel Olivia’s wonder and excitement for her brothers to join her. Though there were beautiful shots and moments throughout the entire film, the music was really well matched to the story and visuals, and overall walked away feeling like that is a time capsule that you, Olivia, and the rest of your family will always consider special.”


Pedro Nogueira is a director and cinematographer based in São Paulo, Brazil. Below, he shares his inspiration for the documentary and the key takeaways from the experience.

MUSICBED: Where did your idea/concept come from?

PEDRO: My niece’s birth (Olívia) was a beautiful moment in my family’s life. Since she was born, I started making movies about her growth and her relationship with her father—the way he’s been teaching her all the things in life is an amazing thing to witness. So, now, with my twin nephews’ birth, I’ve decided to do the same but this time through Olívia’s eyes. I got the inspiration after talking to Elisa Loks, a friend of mine, and she reminded me of the movie C’mon, C’mon when Joaquin Phoenix reads the book Star Child by Claire A. Nivola. After adapting the text for Olívia’s reality, I wrote the script for this film of mine.

MUSICBED: What were your takeaways from the experience?

PEDRO: When I look back, I see that I’m living the life I wanted. I feel so grateful to be a part of my family and see my niece and now my nephews growing up in this crazy world. This film made me see beauty where I was having trouble seeing. It gave me hope.


Transcending Boundaries, The Truth and Dignity Project, La Plata | The Hidden Community of Colombia’s Pacific Islands


Something/AnythingMelker Sehlstedt

Featured Musicbed Music

“Something/Anything” by Victoria Bigelow


Director/DOP/Cinematographer: William Forslund, Melker Sehlstedt

Sound Mixing: Martin Mighetto

Grip/Sound: Emil Travegard


“I absolutely love the concept. Everything from the story, casting, production design, lighting, and emotion is extremely well executed and ties in really cleverly with the story and had me burst out laughing. There was no point in time where I felt a scene dragged on for too long or a shot that didn’t fit. The styling was well crafted to follow the arc of the demise of their relationship. The camera movement knows when to move and when to stop and carries its own character arc leaving you with a great big smile at the end. It’s relatable, fresh, and memorable and the use of the brand is well integrated and immerses you in the storytelling.”

Tamer Shaaban

“I LOVE everything about this! The script, the set design, the direction and performance, and most of all the creative! The music track is absolutely perfect for this nostalgic breakup film.”

Melle Branson


After recently forming their own production company, Swedish filmmakers William Forslund and Melker Sehlstedt partnered together for their first-ever spot. Here, Melker shares more about the spot’s concept and the biggest obstacle they overcame to win big.

MUSICBED: Where did your idea/concept come from?

MELKER: As you might have noticed, our idea was actually made especially for this contest. We listened through all the songs available for use and felt like “Something/Anything” had the most storytelling potential. With this in mind, we sat down and started brainstorming ideas around the song! The original song had some parts that didn’t really fit our thoughts, but with some help from our neighbor Martin, an amazing sound designer/mixer, we managed to get the song to fit with our planned story!

MUSICBED: What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome for this film?

MELKER: Time and budget! When we first saw an ad for the competition, more than half the time had already gone by, leaving us with no more than a week(!) to figure out a story, find a location, and get the perfect actors. And since we founded our company less than a month ago, spending big bucks was not really an option. We got REALLY lucky with our amazing actors. They love the art and trusted us with the process—with almost no compensation. The “no compensation” part will of course be revised after we receive our prize money, and they can look forward to a very nice bonus in their bank accounts.


RTROgrade, Cyberbikes – Be the Legend, CAPRE Secundum, I feel


Just A Man, Ryan Wee

Featured Musicbed Music

“Fixation” by Pendulum Theory


Director/Writer/Cinematographer/Editor: Ryan Wee

Writer: Saik Ming Tay

Producer: Casimir Liew

Voiceover Artist: Jessica Elfick

Cyclist: Boby Subagyo

Writer: Nick Carpenter

Producer: Elvin Ng

And that’s a wrap for this year’s Musicbed Challenge. A special thanks to all who submitted their films, our panel of judges for their time and feedback, and our sponsors and partners who made it all happen.

See you next year.