DEADLINE – OCTOBER 3, 2014: Mention, “‘Men, Women & Children,’ ‘Nas: Time Is Illmatic,’ ‘The Liberator’ & More – Specialty B.O. Preview” by Erik Pedersen
Nas: Time Is Illmatic
Writer: Erik Parker
Cast: Nas, Mrs. Braconi, Fab 5 Freddy, Alicia Keys, Faith Newman, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes
Distributor: Tribeca Film
Documentary Nas: Time Is Illmatic has traveled through the various initiatives by the Tribeca Film Institute and Tribeca Film Festival. “For a young festival and a young institution, it’s great to have a film that has touched all areas here,” said producer and Tribeca Film Institute co-founder Jane Rosenthal. The film, which opened the 2014 festival, also is getting a well-crafted rollout via the group’s distribution wing, Tribeca Film. The docu delves deep into the making of rapper-songwriter Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic and the social conditions that influenced its creation. Two decades after its release, the album has become a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the sociopolitical outlook, spirit and angst of a generation of young black men searching for their voice in America. The project first went through Tribeca All Access, which supports filmmakers from traditionally under-represented groups where it received a grant. During TFF it went through the festival’s filmmaker/industry meetings. TAA organizer Ryan Harrington saw a cut of the movie in director One9’s studio and was “blown away,” according to Tribeca. The filmmaking team received more resources via the TAA Alumni grant to help with editing, in addition to resources from the Ford Foundation. “A lot of distributors were interested, and I told them that they should consider what is the best trajectory for the film,” said Rosenthal. Time Is Illmatic headed back to Tribeca with the group’s distribution wing setting a course for the film’s rollout.
Tribeca Film opened Time Is Illmatic at the Empire 25 in New York and LA at Burbank 30 on Wednesday. On Thursday the distributor opened the title in a series of one-night-only screenings in more than two dozen cities across the U.S. as well as Toronto. It expands to on-demand portals and iTunes today, followed by a theatrical expansion in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit, Phoenix and other markets. Nas also will tour with the film and perform after screenings throughout the month. Tribeca noted that all six shows at the Empire in New York were sold out for the film’s Wednesday bow the previous weekend.