We are super excited that we got a great review and Critic’s Pick in the NY Times!
“The movie also considers that bombing (the term of choice for graffiti painters), once deemed a subversive act, has inevitably been co-opted over the last decade or so, its influences turning up in video games and marketing campaigns, and the work itself mounted on gallery walls. But if the artists shown here making magic with spray paint are any indication, graffiti will never go out of style. It will continue to move with the times; with luck, the filmmakers there to document it will do it the justice that this one does. ”
See the entire NY Times article here
WIRED just listed Bomb It in it’s Playlist section of the 5.16 issue.
The Bronx subway “bombers” of the ’70s had no idea they’d inspire an international movement, but overseas taggers took the spray paint and ran with it. In this graffiti doc, due in theaters and on DVD in May, Blek Le Rat stencils rodents along Parisian curbs; São Paulo artist Zezao “fat-caps” surreal mindscapes onto sewage tunnels; and Tokyo mom Belx2 splatters walls with little girl pictograms.
See the entire Wired article here
The first press story regarding the newly launched Bomb It iPhone App!
Created by Jon Reiss, the application takes photographs uploaded by users and stores them in a database, geo-tagging the images and storing them in a public archive of street art and graffiti from around the world. Anyone with the app can browse a gallery of street art and graffiti by artist, rating or what’s nearby. Bomb It uses GoogleMaps to map the images, and encourages user interaction and commenting.
See the entire Brand X article here
Beyond the often striking graffiti glimpsed, the docu is full to the brim with global music tracks, amusing film clips (from “Superfly” to cult horror “They Live”), and diverse original animation segs. Lensing varies, as some footage was by necessity shot surreptitiously; editing is dynamic.
See the entire Variety article here
With a fully global perspective, Reiss tackles everything from the controversey of graff artists selling and marketing their art on a mainstream (and commercial) platform to the vigilante citizens obsessed with the art form’s end.
See the entire URB article and interview with director Jon Reiss here
[Bomb It] lays out the history of graffiti art better than any other work that we can remember, and at the core of the film is a poignant social statement about public space and the war being waged for it by major corporations, the forces of gentrification, and the street artist rebels that express themselves on urban surfaces around the world. This makes for a provocative, and entertaining film that deserves to be seen.
See the entire IGN article here
Just watch. And get yo damn ass excited!
See the entire Village Voice article here
We are excited to see that we were on the front page of the Huffington Post Entertainment Section 6.6.08!
One thing (among many) the new documentary Bomb It accomplishes magnificently is lending a human element to the faceless graffiti anyone walking down the street has seen in any of the cities on the five continents visited by filmmaker Jon Reiss (Better Living Through Circuitry) and his crew.
See the entire Huffington Post article here
We’ve had a couple great reviews in the New York Daily News —
Jon Reiss’ latest documentary, “Bomb It,” explores the controversial subculture of graffiti through themes of public space, freedom of speech, corporate advertising, and social and political issues. The film visits cities from around the world – Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Barcelona, Cape Town, Sao Pãulo and Tokyo – and delves into how writers have incorporated graffiti into each of their varying cultures as a means of expression, protest, and beautification.
Jon Reiss’ high-energy doc hops all across the globe in order to paint the fullest portrait of the most modern art.
See the entire Daily News article here
Article from Tribeca Film Festival: As for true stories, the high-energy “Bomb It” (9:15 p.m., Clearview Chelsea) presents an in-depth, and extremely entertaining, look at the history of graffiti from gifted music video director Jon Reiss. Despite claims that contemporary tagging started in Philadelphia, this is a New York movie through and through, and so passionate it may (briefly) convince you that a clean subway train is a crime.
See the entire Tribeca Film Festival article here
Also, read the Daily News interview with Jon Reiss here
The film’s scope extends well beyond the United States, and some of the film’s freshest material involves graffiti outside the US: He interviews French artist “Blek le Rat” and young taggers from the racially volatile projects outside Paris, argues that graffiti gave voices to black South Africans during the last brutal years of Apartheid and to antifascist activists in 1970s Brazil, and spotlights an Amsterdam school teacher who somewhat naively compares her graffiti to the innocent, joyful play of young children. Reiss supplements his extensive interviews with graffiti artists past and present, including Sandra “Pink” Fabara, one of the young stars of the pioneering WILD STYLE (1983), with film clips, original animation and archival footage.
See the entire TV Guide article here
“Bomb It” is easily the best documentary on graffiti history and culture throughout the world that I have ever seen.
… Maybe you’ll go into this film knowing more than I did about the subject, but I doubt you’ll walk away without having learned something new.
See the entire Film Threat article here
Critic’s Pick Chicago Reader!
Genuinely global, multicultural, and multilingual in its urban perspectives, this lively documentary features graffiti artists talking about their work and illustrates their discourse with images shot in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Cape Town, Sao Paolo, Tijuana, and Tokyo. Filmmaker Jon Reiss also occasionally gives voice to people trying to eradicate graffiti. The relentless quick cutting and pop soundtrack are counterbalanced by the artists’ personalities and sociopolitical credos. Unlike Michael Glawogger’s more visionary Megacities (1998), this offers neither city symphonies nor overarching theses, but as the title suggests, the theme of rebellion predominates.
We received 3 pick of the weeks – in the Chronicle, The SF Weekly, and The SF Bay Guardian.
The SF Weekly: Like a tagger with a camera, director Jon Reiss puts his mark on the canon of graffiti films using an appropriate technique: He goes bigger than anyone, hitting five continents over a two-year period. Reiss, who documented electronic music with Better Living Through Circuitry in 1999, interviews more than 100 artists for Bomb It, from laurel-resting legends to hooded youth still in the thick of it. He starts in the Philadelphia with the first modern writer (a still-happy cat named Cornbread), then provides a nostalgic look at New York’s subway-car heyday before catching a plane. With a sharply edited blur of brief artist interviews cut with art, the film explores the various approaches to the form, from Blek Le Rat’s vermin stencils in Paris to Sixe’s cartoon characters in Barcelona to DAIM’s wildly abstract lettering in Hamburg.
See the entire SF Weekly article here
We received 3 pick of the weeks – in the Chronicle, The SF Weekly, and The SF Bay Guardian.
SF Bay Guardian: Graffiti artists are the ultimate visionaries — I mean, they were blogging even before Al Gore invented the Internet. Think about it: what’s the difference between painting on a concrete public wall and putting writing, artwork, or pictures of your penis on a virtual, even more public one? Screen names replace tag names, but the dangerous allure of anonymous exhibitionism remains the same. The documentary Bomb It explores the fascinating world of street art from its history to its international role today. Director Jon Reiss appears in person at the Red Vic on opening night, followed by a premiere party at 111 Minna Gallery featuring San Francisco’s own rapper and aerosol artiste TopR.
See the entire SFGB article here
One subject points out that while we expose ourselves to commercials by turning on the TV, we don’t necessarily ask to see billboard advertising just by leaving the house. Raise your hand if you’ve never thought about it that way, but are kind of annoyed now that you have!
See the entire Metromix review here
Article on film’s release: When faced with the knowledge that graffiti artists aren’t all thuggy-looking poor young boys in the ghetto, they come from all classes, races, ages, genders, all demographics have participants in this dialogue, you can’t help but realize that the whack-a-mole approach will never get the result the critics hope for. Due to the sheer size and reach of participation, how about some (perhaps a lot) of free, genuinely public art space? This film, shot beautifully, years in the making and brilliantly edited, is designed to make you think and reconsider assumptions about public space.
See the entire Juxtapoz article here
Article on our DVD release: We’ve talked about Bomb It before, but now we’re happy to announce that Bomb It is finally available on DVD today! Through interviews and guerilla footage of graffiti writers in action on five continents, Bomb It tells the story of graffiti from its origins in prehistoric cave paintings thru its notorious explosion in New York City during the 70s and 80s; then follows the flames as they paint the globe. Featuring old school legends and current favorites such as Taki 183, Cornbread, Stay High 149, T-Kid, Cope 2, Zephyr, Revs, Os Gemeos, KET, Blek le Rat, Chino, Shepard Fairey, Revok, and Mear One, Bomb It makes sure you’ll never look at public space the same way again. Hit up www.bombit-themovie.com for more info and to cop your very own DVD of Docudrama Films’ Bomb It.
See the entire Juxtapoz article here
If your alley has been covered with elaborate tagging, blame it on Cornbread, the Philadelphian whom this doc identifies as the father of graffiti. If that origin story seems implausibly specific, relax; the doc also suggests graffiti is as old as humankind (cave paintings, Alexander the Great writing on the pyramids, Romans scribbling in the Coliseum, etc.)…
See the entire Time Out Chicago article here
“Bomb It” is nothing if not breathless and authoritative in its global view of how graffiti spread from Philadelphia and New York to the world.
See the entire Seattle Times review here
Bomb It, the latest documentary from Jon Reiss (Better Living Though Circuitry, Virtues of Negative Fascination), certainly aims its lens at a colorful subject. Hip-hopping its way around the globe to report the current state of the graffiti art movement, the film captures (to bite a lyric from Grandmaster Melle Mel) “serenades of blue and red and the beauty of the rainbow fills your head.”
See the entire Alibi article here
If Style Wars was the gold standard of graffiti documentary films, Bomb It is the new Platinum standard. Bomb It is dope! Don’t sleep on this movie. See it today!
See the entire Bounce FM article here
Reiss has a knack for knowing where the action is, and he never does things half way. So if he expends the effort to document graffiti, one is likely to learn something new. And “Bomb It! The Global Graffiti Documentary” delivers the goods
See the entire Artillery Magazine article here
Coming at you with lightning speed, Bomb It explodes onto the screen, heralding its arrival and offering a heaping dose of invigorating energy surrounding the world of graffiti, and how that world is split up and examined.
See the entire Slash Film article here
Bomb It es un documental de Graffiti dirigido por Jon Reiss, fué filmado en locaciones de todo el mundo, tardo dos años y medio en completar su realización, ya se ha presentado en algunas ciudades de Estados Unidos, y el dia de hoy toca el turno a Los Angeles California, este filme tiene como base las entrevistas realizadas a escritores de graffiti de todo el mundo, quienes dan su punto de vista acerca del desarrollo y el origen de esta cultura.y lo trasladan (con justa razón) al origen mismo de la humanidad y sus pinturas rupestres. En Bomb It aparecen: Stay High, Zephyr, Chaz Bojorquez, Daim, Blek Le Rat, Shepard Fairey, Pez, Os Gemeos, Cope 2, Mear One, Blek le Rat, Very, KRS ONE; y la lista sigue, BOMB IT promete ser uno de los mejores documentales que se han hecho acerca del graffiti, esperamos que alguien se ponga las pilas para proyectarlo en alguna sala de este pais, por lo pronto los dejamos con un adelanto.. si desean ver mas clips de esta pelicula vayan a la siguiente direccion:
See the TCLY (The City Loves You) review here
One of the most well-rounded graffiti documentaries available. The bias is clear, but the film doesn’t shy away from talking to those who actively challenge the role of graffiti, such as police worried about “illusions of anarchy and chaos,” or angry neighbors who interrupt an interview with an artist to shake fists and curse vandalism… This is not the first film on graffiti, nor will it be the last. But may the gods help us, “Bomb It” is probably the best you’ll see for a good long while.
See the entire Gen Art article here
BOMB IT’s a fresh, fierce look at the history and theory of a phenomenon that, at first glance, seems to not have either; it didn’t make up my mind on how I felt about graffiti, but it conveyed the excitement and energy and contradictions of it while providing plenty to think about.
Read the entire Cinematical review here
Crushing the competition this weekend in the Tribeca Film Festival’s documentary field is BOMB IT, a flick that follows countless artists all over the globe to tell the timeless tale of graffiti. Guerrilla filmmakers trail their subject from its birth in pre-historic cave paintings to its contemporary explosion on the walls of Barcelona.
See the entire Frank151 article here
Bomb It! is essential for any comprehension of the birth and development of the street graffiti movement within the United States, but it intelligently ventures further to situate this urban art form in global resistance, providing an essential “who’s who” of the global graffiti community… There is a wealth of ideas disseminated in Jon Reiss’s Bomb It! It’s been a while since this reviewer has been prompted repeatedly to think and found it so entertaining. Again, don’t miss this one!
See the entire Twitch article here
Docurama’s DVD of Bomb It is as strong as the film. Though the film uses variable video and film stock with a number of animated sequences and archival footage, the image is very good. The new footage is perfectly rendered and the old looks fairly good. The transfer is clean all the way through. So, too, with the 5.1 surround mix. The dialogue is clear in the center channel with the remaining speakers used for the solid fun, hip-hop, and punk soundtrack. The extras include an engaging commentary with Reiss and cinematographer/producer Tracy Wares, some extended time-lapse sequences of the creation of some of the art, extended scenes, and outtakes… As such, Bomb It is a very effective look at the history of street art in many of its forms.
See the entire DVD Verdict article here
Ever since ol’ Charlie Ahearn released Wild Style in 1983, folks have been blitzing with all kinds of media equipment, trying to capture and document (tag and release, maybe?) graffiti and hip hop culture. Bomb It! may be the first worthwhile update to Charlie’s classic
See the entire review here
Some call graffiti art, some a lifestyle and savior, others say it’s revolting vandalism, and the brilliant documentary Bomb It! smoothly offers all opinions, passionate whether it be love or hate.
Bomb It! takes us all across the globe to reveal the similarities of every society, wealthy or impoverished, riotous or safe. NY and LA are gimmes, but there’s angst on the walls of Tokyo, too, admittedly a recent phenomenon in their realm of rules and respect. In tragic Capetown, ripped by Apartheid, a youthful bunch with corrugated tin sheds as their canvas try to give a deprived community something beautiful, and the townsfolk ecstatically agree. A São Paulo official agrees that the rapid skyline protrusion is obtrusive. Barcelona, a land rife with gorgeous abstract architecture is also home to some of the most gorgeous and abstract burners (murals) ever painted, accompanied by a mature casual aura one would expect from the native artists, still commanding that vigilante spirit and belief in art for the masses.
See the entire DreamLogic.net article here
Bomb It is not just another graf-flick. It brings you back to day one, then up to the wild styles of tomorrow—from the streets of Philly to the rise and fall of NYC trains, to some real gangster shit in Los Angeles.. Doing the story honorable justice, director Jonathan Reiss explores the expression of ups through different cultures and nations. Interviews with the artists tell the story in the words of the writers themselves—including the legendary Zephyr, the teacher KRS-One and the king of the Bronx himself, Cope2. Traveling the globe, it gives you a taste of many styles: Writers paint on trains and walls for political reasons, or to just plain wreck shit. One thing is for sure—after watching this, you’re gonna want to write on something.
See the entire article here
Why is Bomb It! so gosh darn good? Well, there are many reasons for this. One of the mainonesbeing the fact that Jon explores the cultural and socio-political reasons for the art worldover. He’s interviewed writers from New York to Barcelona to South Africa. It’s interesting to see howAmerican graffiti writers compare and contrast with the rest of the world and each other. It’s profoundly clear the motivation which inspires these individuals to “get up”. When Lady Pink speaks from her New York roots as opposed to LA’s DJ Lady Tribe, its apparent that these two are coming from two very different worlds. Aesthetically, the differences are clear, but culturally, socially, and politically, they are widely varied.
See the entire Anti-Mag article here
Hop on a train headed to Manhattan and chances are you’re going to see some tagging. Some say this an assault on our cityscapes and others say graffiti is one of the biggest art movements in decades. If you believe the latter, check out award-winning director Jon Reiss’s Bomb It!, a recent documentary delving into the international culture of the street art. The doc was filmed across the globe and showcases the artists and the movement in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Paris, Tokyo and Amsterdam. It also shows the origins of this art dating back to the ’70s and ’80s and features graffiti legends such as Taki 183, Cope 2, Zephyr, Revok, and Shepard Fairey. Avon Theatre Film Center, 72 Bedford St., Stamford. 9 p.m. $10, $7 for students and seniors. (203)967-3660. www.avontheatre.org.
See the entire article here
The Jon Reiss directed documentary Bomb It traces the global, urban geography and history of modern graffiti culture, moving eastward from Philadelphia and touching down in locations like Barcelona, Cape Town, and São Paulo before ending up in Los Angeles. The film’s tagline, “Street Art is Revolution”, aptly sums up the film’s message, but the simplicity of that slogan belies the documentary’s nuanced and thoughtful treatment of its subject.
Those who aren’t sure what to think about graffiti will undoubtedly have their eyes opened by the way the film grounds its subject in the concrete and everyday aspects of life in the world’s cities, and the way in which graffiti is taken seriously as both art and politics.
See the entire PopMatters review here
Is tagging crime or art? Both sides make compelling arguments. The film moves as fast as the artists, and the interviews are as succinct as the tags.
See the entire Fort Worth Star-Telegram here
Now, Hawai’i is one of only four U.S. states that does not allow billboards, so we are not quite as subject to the “corporate graffiti” the writers in the film protest. But in trying to maintain that ad-free dignity, Hawai’i can relate to this subversive subculture that dares not only to question capitalism, but to act upon it. Without graffiti, they say, the only voice in urban areas would be advertisements.
Whether you are experienced or not on the subject of graffiti, BOMB IT is guaranteed to get your gears turning.
See the entire Honolulu Weekly article here.
A remarkably compact and engaging overview of the history and ideology of this urban outlaw art form.
-Los Angeles Times
Bomb It offers a new way of looking at the world’s cities, courtesy of the art world’s fleeting phantoms, who often have to choose between buying food or a can of spray paint.
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