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Tribeca Film Takes North American Rights To Nas Doc 'Time Is Illmatic' For Fall Release

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 14, 2014 10:22 AM
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Still From 'Time Is Illmatic'

Tribeca Film has announced its acquisition of North American rights to One9’s Time Is Illmatic, which had its world premiere as the opening night film of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

The documentary is directed by multimedia artist, One9, written by Erik Parker and produced by One9, Parker, and Anthony Saleh

It follows the trajectory of Nas’ 1994 landmark debut album, Illmatic-- widely considered one of the most important and revolutionary albums in hip-hop. 

Tribeca Film is planning a simultaneous theatrical and VOD release in October, along with performances from Nas in select cities. 

Additionally an educational youth screening series will complement the release.

Time Is Illmatic traces Nas’s influences and the insurmountable odds he faced in creating the greatest work of music from hip-hop’s second golden era. The film tracks the musical legacy of the Jones family -- handed down to Nas from his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, the support of his Queensbridge neighborhood crew, and the loyalty of his younger brother JabariJungleJones. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic is widely recognized as a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the sociopolitical outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young men searching for their voice in America. Time Is Illmatic was supported by The Ford Foundation’s Just Films and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program.

Hip hop luminary and multi-platinum artist, Nas released his debut album Illmatic in 1994, and he has gone on to sell over 20 million albums worldwide. The legendary Queens rapper is widely recognized as a visionary and lauded for a seminal body of work that spans a two-decade career.

"I want to thank Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal & the Tribeca Film family for all of the love & support they've given Time Is Illmatic,” Nas stated. “It is an honor to be in partnership with them. I feel there is a cultural kinship bonded by the city of New York."

We began this journey with filmmakers One9 and Erik Parker when they conceived of the idea for the film in 2010 and supported them with funding through the Tribeca Film Institute to complete their vision,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises. “We were privileged to open the 2014 Festival with the world premiere of this powerful story of an artist's journey through the toughest of conditions and times which was followed by a spectacular performance of the album by Nas. The film is unique. Nas' is the truest of artist reflecting his community. Tribeca was founded on community and filmmaking and we could not be more proud of our continuing association with a work as honest and inspirational as Time Is Illmatic.

"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.

The deal for the film was negotiated by Nick Savva, Vice President of Acquisitions for Tribeca Film and David Koh, Dan Braun, Josh Braun for Submarine Entertainment with Liesl Copland for WME on behalf of the filmmakers.

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