Jon Reiss’ Global Graffiti Documentary
LOS ANGELES, CA, October 23, 2007 – Antidote Films is pleased to present Bomb It, the global graffiti documentary by award winning director Jon Reiss. Currently on a whirlwind international film festival tour, the film will screen theatrically for US audiences in spring 2008 followed by the DVD release. Featuring street artists and top graffiti writers from 5 continents Bomb It is the first film to update the story of graffiti with a truly international perspective. Personalities such as Cornbread, Lady Pink, acclaimed hip hop artist and former graffiti writer KRS One, international art machine Shepard Fairey, Brazilian bombing twin brothers Os Gemeos, and others share their lives with the camera. Globally comprehensive as well as politically relevant, a recent review by IGN.com reported, “… At the core of the film is a poignant social statement about public space and the war being waged for it.” To learn more please visit http://bombit-themovie.com and http://www.myspace.com/bombitthemovie and for constant updates about this film and graffiti culture in general, especially artist’s rights, visit the Bomb It blog at http://bombit-themovie.com/blog.
- Hitting Film Festivals Around the Planet
- US Theatrical Release - Spring 2008
Hot off the heels of festivals in Helsinki, Calgary, Berlin and Ireland, Bomb It hits these fine festivals in the coming weeks with more TBA:
- Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil - Latin American premiere on 10/25, 10/27, 10/29
- Doclisboa, Lisbon, Portugal - the centerpiece of the closing night festivities on 10/26 & 10/28
- Olympia Film Festival, Washington, USA - 11/7
- Leeds International Film Festival, England - official UK premiere on 11/9, 11/10 & 11/18
- Oslo International Film Festival, Norway - 11/19, 11/20 &11/21
- British Film Institute, Southbank, London, England - 11/23
- Black Nights Film Festival POFF, Tallinn, Estonia – opening night on 11/24
And these upcoming festivals with screening times and dates TBD:
- IDFA Amsterdam, Netherlands - Docs for Sale (festival runs: 11/22 - 12/2)
- Black Soil International Hip Hop Festival, Amsterdam/Rotterdam, Netherlands - (festival runs: 11/23 - 12/2)
- Espontánea Film Festival, Saragossa, Spain - June 2008
Starting with graffiti’s roots in New York and Philadelphia, Bomb It goes on to explore the graff cultures in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Barcelona, Berlin, Cape Town, São Paulo, and Tokyo, before finally wrapping up in Los Angeles. The film features original footage with artists around the world who have taken the form and applied it to their particular cultural and social conditions, from Latin America, where graffiti has been adapted into the mural tradition, to Japan where anime inspired rakugaki juxtaposes with formal calligraphy and conformist societal norms, to Europe where a dadaist/surrealist tradition produces deliberately confrontational prankstering.
While some believe the roots of graffiti can be traced back to pre-linguistic cave markings and the innate human need for self-expression, graffiti remains a highly controversial issue. Using a myriad of original interviews as well as guerilla footage of graffiti writers in action, Bomb It tells the story of contemporary graffiti from its roots in ancient rock paintings through Picasso to Latino placas through its notorious emergence as a visual adjunct to the rise of hip hop culture in 1970's New York City culminating in its current, pervasive presence in a myriad of forms – on the streets and in pop culture throughout the world, co-opted into advertising, on our clothing, etc.
The controversy surrounding graffiti is an integral part of the story: from anti-tagging groups, to the impact of New York City's infamous "Quality of Life" laws which directly targeted illicit writing (the film includes an interview with NYC’s most outspoken graffiti critic, NYC Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.), to the proliferation of these laws throughout the world. Graffiti – as well as stenciling, stickering, postering, and any unsanctioned graphic “interference” in public space - raises important questions that delve deep into our contemporary social structure such as: Who has the right to express themselves? What is a canvas? Where should art take place? If public space is a forum for discussion, which voices will be heard?
Bomb It is the most comprehensive documentary about graffiti and street art to date. Roughly 200 artists were interviewed for this film. In addition to those named above, interviewees included Mear One, Terrible T-KID 170, Taki 183, Zephyr, Tribe, Tats Cru, Chaz Bojorquez, Robbie Conal, Ron English, Cope 2, Daim, Revs, Blek Le Rat, Very One, Stay High 149, Tracy 168, KET, Chino, Revok, Pez, Sixe, Zezao, Faith 47, and so many more (see http://bombit-themovie.com/artists/default.html for full list of artists interviewed).
The film’s soundtrack combines a striking roster of hip hop, electronic music and native sounds from some of the locales visited. Highlights include tracks by Immortal Technique, Big Syphe, Disco D, Donald Byrd, Spank Rock, Virgin Tears vs Dave The Hustler, and Mathematics. Indie record labels such as Highpoint Lowlife, Daptone Records, and Ninja Tune were extremely helpful in the process. Soweto Gospel Choir, ACFC Choir, and Black Noise underscore the South African scenes while the São Paulo portion boasts songs by Brazil’s Arthur Joly, and ARD, and Uruguay’s Federico Ramos Composed.
“Filmmaker Jon Reiss finds himself drawn to subcultures with guts,” the Village Voice wrote in May of this year during an interview for Bomb It’s world premiere at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Named one of “10 Digital Directors to Watch” by Daily Variety, Reiss has covered the West Coast punk explosion, documented the notorious San Francisco performance group Survival Research Laboratories, rave culture in his debut feature-length documentary, Better Living Through Circuitry, and now graffiti culture. He also has a non-doc under his belt: the award-winning dark psychological drama, Cleopatra's Second Husband. Also famous for his music videos, in 1995 the Toronto Film Festival curated a retrospective of Reiss' music videos, which included 1992’s acclaimed Nine Inch Nails video, “Happiness in Slavery.” Jon Reiss’ work has screened at festivals, theaters and cultural centers throughout the world as well as on channels such as IFC, Showtime, and the Sundance Channel. Reiss received his MFA from the UCLA Film School.