Many of you are fans of or have seen Style Wars the documentary filmed by Director Tony Silver and co-Produced by Henry Chalfant. Its been many years and so many changes have taken place with the advent of new technologies and media that it has become increasingly urgent to preserve the film for future generations. Public Arts Film has relaunched the website http://www.stylewars.com to raise funds to help preserve and digitize the film and outtakes. This is important work that needs to be done in an effort to save the film from erosion and other damages. I would ask of all my friends and fellow bloggers to donate anything they can, there are special incentives for donors as well, spread the word too. Any amount will help save the film and its legacy. Read more below—-
In the early 1980s, Mayor Koch, enraged about graffiti, began buffing the city’s colorful, painted trains. In the end, he may have succeeded, but not before Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant captured the magnificent first wave of graffiti in their pioneering documentary, Style Wars. The film is seen around the world as an important footnote in hip hop culture and New York City history. Today, that history, too, is threatened. The original footage is damaged and fading. A new kind of buffing is taking place – a “celluloid buff” – that threatens to eradicate the record of the first brave and indomitable writers who took the world by storm.
You can help preserve that history!
Public Art Films is currently on a fund-raising mission to restore the original print, and to create a new high definition master which will preserve the record of the first painted trains to its original vivid colors. We’re inviting you to take part in this historic enterprise.
The Restoration Project
Twenty five years after its initial release there is still a strong, global demand for the film. In an effort to keep up with this demand we must be able to offer the film in the the most up-to-date formats. We are embarking on a project to restore STYLE WARS and bring it up to the highest technical standards available today in order to create a High Definition edition of the film. We will be transferring the original 16 mm negativeinto full HD 1080p while cleaning and restoring the film during the process. The HD master will be better, sharper and more brilliant than the original. From it we can strike new prints, author new DVDs and participate in the digital economy.
We have looked at the original negative and discovered that it was damaged during the many years it has been in storage. Fortunately, it will be possible to repair it, using digital technology, painstakingly working on each damaged frame. The restored film will have unprecedented sharpness and clarity and the vibrant colors of the painted trains will be revealed in their original intensity.
One of the questions people always ask us is, “What’s in the outtakes?”
STYLE WARS was originally edited to its 69 minute length from about 30 hours of 16 mm film that we shot in 1981 and 1982. We have been able to visit the storage facility at the Academy Film Archives in order to look through some of the outtakes. It was very exciting to see wonderful scenes in the extra footage that didn’t make it into the finished film. There are many shots of trains and some surprising masterpieces rescued from oblivion. There are more scenes from the B boy battle at United Skates of America between the Rock Steady Crew and the Dynamic Rockers and there are interviews with Skeme and his mom, Dez, Kase 2, Shy, Seen, Dondi and all the other kings and characters that people have grown to love.