STYLE WARS, the definitive, the ultimate, the absolute film expression of classic graffiti will finally be available in video. Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant's prize-winning film has been a legend in the Hip-Hop world since it's premiere on PBS in the 80's (and showings on TV around the world). Since then few have seen the film outside of film festivals - especially in its original, pre-broadcast, full-legnth version. Now the original directors cut- with ten extra minutes of film- has been digitally re-mastered for distribution in video.
The legend began in the 1970s when Chalfant, a noted New York sculptor fascinated with the graffiti art taking over the New York subways, traversed streets and station platforms from the Bronx to Brooklyn to document the travelling burners and top-to-bottom masterpieces that were spreading the fame of the greats of graffiti. Some of his priceless photographs would later appearin two worldwide best selling books. From his work in anthropology, Chalfant saw that graffiti, rap and breaking were expressions of the burgeoning subculture of Hip-Hop, and he realized that would mean to the world.
In 1980, as the ten-year war between graffiti writers and New York City authorities neared a climax, Chalfant hooked up with film director Tony Silver. Silver began to envision a film that would capture the real-life drama of graffiti writers' struggle for personal and artistic recognition. The pair spent two years filming their epic project--and raising the money to complete it. What they created was a spectacular documentary tapestry of art, music and dance. And most important of all, unforgettable portraits of legendary artists getting up in straight letters and wild style, while dealing with the polic, wack graffiti vandals, New York's mayor, and even their own mothers. After its PBS premiere STYLE WARS went on to win major prizes at the US Films on Art,the Athens International Film Festival and the American and Houston Film Festivals. It was also shown at the Toronto, Sydney and Vancouver festivals and was the official United States entry in the prestigious Prix Italia competition. The film has been broadcast on Britain's Channel Four, and in Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Scandinavia. STYLE WARS was funded with the help of grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Council for the Humanities and Channel four Television (GB).
Maybe you weren't at the Writers Bench at the 149th Street station in Bronx signing Black Books for the toys. Or deep below the streets of Brooklyn in the Grant Avenue layup painting the CC trains. Or showing off your breaking style in the playgrounds of Harlem with the dancers of the Rock Steady Crew. But with the video release of STYLE WARS, you can still be down with the founders of Hip-Hop and the kings of Graffiti's Golden Age.