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Special Collections

H2ONewsreel

TWN has partnered with the Hip-Hop Association (H2A) to form, H2O NEWSREEL, the first distribution label dedicated to the educational market that offers the best in Hip-Hop Media, Education, and Culture. The mission of H2O NEWSREEL is to create distribution opportunities to independent and established Hip-Hop filmmakers, artists and educators that depict the variety of images and stories of Hip-Hop Culture.

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James Spooner
2003, 66 min., Color, US
AFRO-PUNK explores race identity within the punk scene. This film tackles hard questions, such as issues of loneliness, exile, inter-racial dating and black power. We follow the lives of four people who have dedicated themselves to the punk rock lifestyle. They find themselves in conflicting situations, living the dual life of a person of color in a mostly white community. Afro-Punk features performances by Bad Brains, Tamar Kali, Cipher, and Ten Grand. It also contains exclusive interviews by members of Fishbone, 247- spyz, Dead Kennedys, Candiria, Orange 9mm and TV on the Radio to name a few.
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Ana Garcia
Producer: Ana "Rokafella" Garcia
2010, 45 min., Color, US
Veteran b-girl Ana "Rokafella" Garcia's first documentary film ALL THE LADIES SAY features the work of female breakdancers in the United States, including Aiko, Baby Love, Beta, Lady Champ, Severe and Vendetta. This film raises awareness of the female presence in Hip-hop and promotes the growth of this dance community in the United States and internationally. Discussions about femininity, motherhood and the representation of women in popular culture are a few of the themes explored by the dancers.
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Randy Kelly
Producer: Jacques Ménard & Micheline Shoebridge
2007, 44 min., Color, Canada
In Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, an isolated community of 1500 mainly Inuit residents, Hip-Hop has been popular for many years. But it’s the glamourized gangsta lifestyle on display in music videos that many of the local kids choose to emulate.
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Jessica Habie
2006, 78 min., Color, US
In this film, artists, singers, emcees, activists, poets and writers come together in an explosive exploration of feminine creation. Each lady brings to the screen her innermost struggles in an attempt to outline the obstacles that face the female artist. "The Art of Love and Struggle" navigates the challenges of poverty, politics and personal sacrifice and explores love, identity and urban culture.
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Maurice Lynch
2006, 90 min., Color, US
The Hip-Hop Christian movement has been uplifting youth by delivering positive religious messages that are not about drugs, sex, or hate but of hope and peace.
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Elizabeth St. Philip
2005, 45 min., Color, Canada
The images are everywhere: young black women shaking their assets in music videos featuring the biggest names in hip-hop. The dancers appear to be pretty props, gyrating to songs with misogynistic lyrics sung by mostly male rappers?images that appear to be exploitative and stereotypical. Yet auditions are highly sought after. This edgy documentary goes behind the scenes to follow Linda, Michelle and Tracy, three young women competing for roles in music videos. What drives these women to risk everything for a chance at fame? What role do these images play in shaping young women’s goals and identities? Through their personal accounts, we see how this world has impacted their personal values, career ambitions and concepts of beauty and self-image.
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Felix Rodriguez
2005, 50 min., Color, US
Art, labor and family blend in this intimate documentary about performance artist Caridad De La Luz, better know as 'La Bruja'. Born and raised in the Bronx, this daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants takes the number 6 train to downtown Manhattan where she performs at popular New York City venues. She reads her poetry in Joe's Pub, stages her one-woman show in the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and performs at Def Poetry Jam. But opportunities are scarce and she struggles to make ends meet in an industry where 'to keep it real' often means to work for free.
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Ben Herson, Magee McIlvaine & Chris Moore
Producer: Nomadic Wax and Sol Productions
2007, 66 min., Color, US/Senegal
"Democracy in Dakar" explores the transformative role of Hip-Hop in politics in Senegal, West Africa during the 2007 presidential election campaign. This documentary mixes interviews, freestyles, and commentary from journalists, artists and politicians. Senegalese society is seen on the brink of democratic change, where Hip-Hop artists are one of the few groups unafraid of speaking out.
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Charles B. Brack
Producer: Charles B. Brack, CoProduced with Third World Newsreel
2008, 58 min., Color, US
This documentary tells the little known story of Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old student who was fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. Sakia was an Aggressive, according to GLAAD, a homosexual woman of color who dresses in masculine attire but does not necessarily identify as female-to-male transgender. Sakia held promise as a basketball player and was an "A" student, looking forward to becoming a senior at Newark's West Side High School. On the night Sakia was murdered, she and her friends were returning from socializing at New York City's Greenwich Village piers, at Christopher street, a popular spot for Lesbian, Gay and Transgendered youth.
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Jeff Zimbalist & Matt Mochary
Color, Brazil
Their music fueled a movement. His message fought a war.
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Duncan Jepson
2007, 89 min., Color, China
A revealing documentary on the work and life of successful and independent Chinese Hip-Hop artists and their cultural influence in a society rapidly changing from communism to consumerism. Clashing with both traditional Chinese values and new modern ones, these artists believe that Hip-Hop allows for the expression of freedom and being true to oneself. Furthermore, the film describes the high optimism and convictions of this new generation that will inherit a political and economic superpower. Part of the H2ONewsreel collection.
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Vanessa Gocksch
2006, 58 min., Color, Colombia
FREKUENSIA KOLOMBIANA profiles the grassroots Hip-Hop scene in Colombia, exploring the popularity of all the elements--MCing, breakdancing, graffiti, and DJing--and their relation to the political and class realities of Colombia. Told through interviews of Hip-Hop artists, as well as regular residents of communities in Medellin, Bogota, Cali, and Barranquilla, we see the ways in which Hip-Hop's musical form is shaped specifically by Vallenato--Colombian folk music, as well as the political corruption, poverty, and the suppressed voices of the Colombian masses.
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Francisco Cesar
1990, 11 min., Color
Young Black members of Sao Paulo's hip hop movement depict their experience and views of Black Brazilian history through their music, dance and graffiti.
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Joshua Asen & Jennifer Needleman
Producer: Rizz Productions, Inc.
2007, 80 min., Color, US/Morocco
This feature-length documentary follows the creation of Morocco's first-ever Hip-Hop festival, from inception all the way to the stage. Along the way we meet DJ Key, a self-taught turntable prodigy who is torn between his love for Hip-Hop and his
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Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi
2005, 50 min., Color, US/Cuba
INVENTOS explores the burgeoning Hip-Hop scene in Cuba. In spite of the US trade embargo against Cuba, the Hip-Hop movement is flourishing with popular innovative groups such as EPG&B, Grandes Ligas, Anonimo Consejo, and Sexto Sentido offering creative energy and powerful social commentary on Cuban social issues and politics. Groups such as Orishas are profiled as one of the few Cuban Hip-Hop groups that live outside of Cuba and have a worldwide following. The film follows these artists to their homes, various performances, the Cuban Hip-Hop festival, and for many, their first time abroad to perform and record in New York.
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Mark Benjamin & Danny Hoch
2000, 90 min., US
From the mind of Brooklyn actor, performance artist and Hip-Hop activist Danny Hoch, this film spins out the stories of ten lives shocked by global Hip-Hop, the prison system and life in general. Moving masterfully in and out of the characters while the camera cuts from film narrative to live performances, Danny blows your mind and makes you look at cultural power in a new way that is hysterically funny, tragically sad and uplifting all at once.
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Jesse W Shipley
2007, 61 min., Color, US/Ghana
This film is a musical portrait of street life in urban West Africa. It follows the birth of Hiplife music in Accra, Ghana, a mix of various African musical forms and American hip hop. Archival footage and hip hop music videos are remixed with interviews and the daily lives of rap artists. We follow Reggie Rockstone, the Godfather of Hiplife in the founding of the musical movement, as well as the Mobile Boys a group of aspiring rap artists as they try to make it in the music business. With humor and personality these characters move across the political and musical landscape of urban Ghana.
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Michael Skolnik & Rebecca Chaiklin
2006, 84 min., Color, US
In 1973, New York State enacted the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which are the harshest drug control measures ever passed in any democratic nation. President Reagan declared the National “War on Drugs” in 1982 and cited The Rockefeller Laws as the model for new drug regulations. By 1983, 48 states had passed drug control measures based on the Rockefeller Drug Laws. These laws have resulted in the US prison population quadrupling and prisons becoming a thriving, profitable industry. There are currently over two million people behind bars in America. One out of every 38 Americans is currently in prison or on parole and or probation.
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Angelica and Scott Macklin
Producer: Open Hand Reel
2008, 80 min., Color, South Africa/US
"Masizakhe, Building Each Other" explores the role of art, social activism and Hip-Hop in education and presents students, teachers, artists and principals working to support each other while re-establishing individual and cultural identities.This is an important and inspiring film that demonstrates that Hip-Hop is a global culture committed to peace and youth liberation. It has been a powerful means of initiating classroom and community discussions on these topics.
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Lila Rodrigues & Karina Ades
2010, 72 min., Color, Brazil
"If a guy wants to be a DJ, he's already a dreamer." - DJ Max
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John Fredericks
2006, 73 min., South Africa
MR. DEVIOUS is an exploration of the life and impact of South African Hip-Hop artist Mr. Devious on the youth and community of Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa. The film traces Mr. Devious' introduction to Hip-Hop, his hardcore style of rapping about ghetto life in Cape Flats, his experiences being signed to a major record label and then returning to life as an independent artist, his international traveling and recording, his mentoring of youth in and outside of prison, and his untimely murder. Throughout the film we watch his evolution, from a teenager influenced by the street life of his peers, to a young man choosing to become a formal mentor and role model to youth, speaking to them about life skills, violence, HIV/AIDS, corrupt politicians and developing programs for them within schools and prisons.
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One9 & Erik Parker
Producer: One9 & Erik Parker
2014, 74 min., Color, US
Twenty years after the release of Nas’s groundbreaking debut album ‘Illmatic,’ NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC takes us into the heart of his creative process. Returning to his childhood home in Queensbridge, Nas shares stories of his upbringing, his influences — from the music of his jazz musician father Olu Dara to the burgeoning hip-hop scene in New York City — and the obstacles he faced before his major label signing at age 20. Featuring interviews with his ‘Illmatic’ producers (Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier) and musical peers (including Pharrell Williams and Alicia Keys), NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC is a thrilling account of Nas’s evolution from a young street poet to a visionary MC.
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Cyrille Phipps
Producer: Third World Newsreel Workshop
1992, 10 min., Color, US
In keeping with the doctrines of Wall Street and Madison Avenue, sex sells rap music. In this video, Black youth examine the ways women of African descent are frequently portrayed in rap lyrics and music videos. Hip-hop riffs and clips from rap videos illustrate interviews with young rap enthusiasts, art critics, activists and rapper "Sista Souljah". Excellent for discussions on sexism, gender roles, and sexuality.
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Maori Karmael Holmes
2005, 45 min., Color, US
Right from the beginning of the hip hop movement, Philadelphia's artists have made major contributions as emcees, grafitti artists, dancers, and especially as deejays. Native talents such as Will Smith, The Roots and Eve have made great strides domestically and internationally. But somehow Philly still doesn't get the kind of props that L.A. or even Atlanta does, despite its unique proliferation of women emcees, vocalists, poets and deejays. Scene Not Heard seeks to tell the story of these women--the legends and the ingenues--as they struggle to succeed in a male-dominated industry.
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J.T. Takagi
Producer: Third World Newsreel
2005, 7 min., Color, US
Toni Blackman and the FreeStyle Union are challenging the male dominated world of hip hop and empowering women to speak their minds in freestyle workshops. This music video/documentary hopes to promote a movement of female MCs. Part of the Call for Change Series.
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