After premiering as the opening night film of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, hip hop doc Time Is Illmatic, about the creation and legacy of rapper Nas‘ landmark 1994 album Illmatic, has been acquired by Tribeca Films. Pic is directed and produced by artist One9 and written by Erik Parker and traces the musical origins and evolutions of the Queens-bred MC known throughout his two-decade career as Nasty Nas, Esco, Escobar and Nastradamus. An October theatrical and VOD debut is in the works with a lineup of Nas performances in select cities and educational youth screenings bringing more buzz to the release. Time Is Illmatic was supported by The Ford Foundation’s Just Films and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program. “With Time is Illmatic, Erik and I wanted to celebrate Nas’ groundbreaking album Illmatic and shed light on the socio-economic conditions that created it. Most importantly, we wanted to show how one piece of art gave hope to those searching for their voice in America,” said One9. “We are confident that our partnership with Tribeca will give the proper platform for this important American experience.” Tribeca Films Nick Savva negotiated the deal with David Koh, Dan Braun, and Josh Braun for Submarine Entertainment and WME’s Liesl Copland on behalf of the filmmakers.
NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival will welcome hometown rap icon Nas when its 2014 edition opens with the world premiere of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary on the Queens-bred rapper and his seminal 1994 album Illmatic. The multi-platinum-selling MC will also stage a special performance of the entire album in order following the Tribeca premiere kicking off the fest on April 16. Pic tracks the making of Illmatic and how Nas evolved from Nasty Nas to Esco to Escobar and, later, to Nastradamus, examining the musical influences that shaped Nas as a budding artist growing up in the Queensbridge projects with a jazz musician father and brother Jabari “Jungle” Fret.
Nas’s debut in Illmatic is still regarded as a benchmark in hip hop history for its lyricism and socially conscious inner city themes. The album’s 20th anniversary has been a hot property of late, with Xbox plotting 1990s-set series Street Dreams based on Nas’s origins. Time is Illmatic is directed by One9 and written by Erik Parker. One9, Parker, and Anthony Saleh are producers. Pic was made with support from The Ford Foundation’s Just Films and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program.
EXCLUSIVE: As Nas marks the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking debut album Illmatic, a half-hour series project loosely based on his life as a hip hop artist in the 1990s is getting off the ground with a deal at XBox Entertainment Studios. Titled Street Dreams, the project, from Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell’s Electric City Entertainment (The Place Beyond The Pines), is set in the 1990s in Long Island City’s Queensbridge housing complex, where Nas grew up, and takes a look at music, family and the trials and tribulations of the rap game. Street Dreams is being written/directed by Jonathan Levine, who also grew up in New York, spending his formative years in the 1990s. New York in the 90s was the backdrop for his coming of age feature The Wackness, winner of the Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Street Dreams is now being developed, with Nas involved in the writing and music. His manager, Anthony Seleh, executive produces with Patricof, Howell and Levine. Patricof and Howell recently developed bodybuilding half-hour Muscle for HBO. Xbox has been actively buying scripted projects though it is yet to launch its first series. It also has in the works a pro skaters comedy series from writer Ian Edelman.