Yo! Hip-hop doc “Style Wars” needs restoring

Stylewars It always comes as a shock to learn that a film released in one’s own lifetime is in need of restoration. But that’s the case for Tony Silver’s 1983 documentary “Style Wars.”

The picture was among the first to investigate New York’s hip-hop scene, with a particular emphasis on the city’s graffiti artists and breakdance crews. (Music by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the Sugarhill Gang, the Treacherous Three and Rammellzee and K-Bob was featured on the soundtrack.) It collected the documentary grand prize at the 1984 Sundance Film Festival.

The pic’s 16mm negative has been damaged after years in storage, and money is being raised for its restoration. On Sept. 9, the Style Wars Restoration Fund will mount an event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music that will include three screenings of the feature.

A site for the restoration has also been set up. The progress of contributions is being charted visually on the site by the progress of graffiti tagging on a New York subway train.

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