Public Art Films seeks help in remastering Style Wars, the seminal hip-hop doc from the '80s

There have been a lot of projects in recent memory searching for help with funding, from bands to films to films about bands. But few have had the historical importance of Style Wars, the seminal 1982 documentary about New York's '80s hip-hop scene. The film is available on DVD, but the master used to transfer it wasn't the best, and Public Art Films is looking to give the film a proper remaster.

If you haven't seen the film, check out the clip below. While it's certainly steeped in graffiti and b-boy culture, you don't have to be into either to enjoy it. At its heart, it's a film about a city and a certain era. The fact that the film is available free online on nearly every video outlet is also a testament not just to the cultural importance of the original film, but also to the resolve of the filmmakers. Public Art Films, a nonprofit, is not out to make money on a new release of Style Wars; rather, the aim is simply to preserve the document so that it doesn't get lost.

The fundraising goal is a hefty one: $500,000. That's the amount of funding it will take to get an HD master of the film and distribute it through DVD, Blu-Ray and other digital means. The problem lies in the fact that the original negative has been damaged from storage and is in serious need of repair, which will require editors to work on individual frames to get it up to snuff. Perhaps more important is the restoration of the outtakes. More than thirty hours of footage was pulled out of the Academy of Film Archives that include more art, more b-boy battle footage, interviews and plenty more.

While fidelity rarely matters in the restoration of many films, an HD-quality master of Style Wars is likely to be a worthwhile investment. Not just for the higher-resolution video footage, but also for the cleaned-up and brightened colors. It's a film as much about art as it is about people, and keeping those images as vivid as possible will only add to the film.

Of course, it wouldn't be a fundraiser without some killer swag, and there's plenty of that here. Depending on how much you pony up, you'll snatch up copies of the film, your name in the credits, original art, posters, photos and more. Since Public Art Films is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it also means your contribution is tax-deductible.




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