When it comes to their culture, students know what matters for their education. In early November 2014, the filmmakers of the documentary Nas: Time is Illmatic visited CCNY’s Shepard Hall. They offered insight into the making of Nas’s 1989 debut album Illmatic in a crowded auditorium.
Like many new filmmakers, Erik Parker and One9 felt the passion. It took them ten years to finish the documentary supposed to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the album.
“There are two main obstacles that we faced during the making of the movie: funding the project and having Nas sign up,” says Erik Parker, the writer/producer who graduated from Columbia J-school. “Nas was first 50/50, but we finally had him fully involved.”
The documentary opened up the Tribeca Film Festival this year in April. During the editing process, the people at Tribeca Film Institute tried to make the project broader for everyone to understand it, anyone who doesn’t understand black folks culture. Nas actually proofread every single word he put down in the album that became subtitle in the documentary.
“We really wanted to make something that reflects our generation,” says One9, the director/producer. “If a scene doesn’t have any emotion or is not story driven, just cut it out.” He works as an artist and a self-taught filmmaker.
One9 and Erik Parker galvanized the community of artists to get the project done. Not everybody recognized their talents, but once the movie came out, people greeted them.
“30 hours of footage didn’t make it to that movie,” says Martha Diaz, the associate producer and founder/director of the Hip-Hop Education Center. “They are available for our education at the Hip-Hop Education Center and for the next generation.”