Vikki Tobak’s seminal book, Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop is headed to the screen as a documentary. Universal Music Group’s Mercury Studios and Republic Records’ Federal Films, along with Jupiter Entertainment, are behind the adaptation.
Joseph Patel is tapped to direct; Jupiter’s Patrick Reardon, Federal Films’ Chris Blackwell and Dana Sano, and Barak Moffitt and Daniel Seliger of Mercury Studios, along with “Contact High” author Vikki Tobak, will executive produce, along with Fred Brathwaite (aka Fab 5 Freddy).
The 2018 photo book chronicles the rise of hip-hop from the music of the streets to commercial success through outtakes from more than 100 photoshoots. Likewise, the doc will utilize contact sheets, stylized set pieces and archival interviews in telling the story visually.
“Hip-hop has always been about self-definition especially when it comes to visuals and style,” said Tobak. “Bringing Contact High to the big screen is important to show how a cultural force that grew from Black and Brown communities would have a long and lasting impact on people all over the world. The contact sheets reveal how photographers shaped the evolution of a visual cultural phenomenon. Digging into the visual archive to bring this story to life.”
Added Patel: “Vikki’s book is a hugely important homage to hip-hop culture and the people who create it, live it, and keep it alive. I’m thrilled to work with her and Fab 5 Freddy in bringing these stories to light and preserving them for years to come”
“This is the first-ever, comprehensive look at the history of hip-hop images,” said Fab 5 Freddy, “From the culture’s early days to what’s poppin’ now, this project shows the truly global impact hip-hop has made. By showing the contact sheets and archives, it takes you even deeper into the creative process. If you grew up loving hip-hop or if you a fan of pop culture history, you’ve seen these images and can now understand what preserving the photographic history of an entire genre of music looks like.”
The film is co-produced by Mercury Studios, which will also handle sales and marketing.