The BBC has commissioned director Jeanie Finlay (Sound It Out) to produce a documentary telling the story of hip hop sensation Silibil n’ Brains (pictured), two students from Scotland who shot to fame by pretending to be rappers from California.
The film, The Great Hip Hop Hoax, is being made for BBC4 strand ‘Storyville’ and BBC Scotland, and will air in 2012. It is being directed and co-produced by Finlay through her indie Glimmer Films, with Al Morrow (Sink Or Swim) and Jerry Rothwell (Donor Unknown) producing.
Talking to realscreen from London, Finlay explained: “It’s the story of two Scottish rappers who couldn’t get a record deal because everyone basically laughed them off stage. So they passed themselves off as the next big thing from California and managed to get a deal with Sony.”
For four-and-a-half years the duo kept up the pretense, traveling the world and partying with the likes of Eminem and Madonna. However, the pair became increasingly unhinged in the process.
Finlay said the film would look at “truth, lies and the pursuit of fame,” and would ask the question: “What is it like to be someone that you hate for such a long time?”
In addition to featuring interviews with Gavin Bain and Billy Boyd, the two rappers who made up the duo, the documentary will tell the story of the pair’s deception using doodle animation from acclaimed UK-based artist Jon Burgerman.
“We decided to do animation primarily because it’s a story told in the past, but also because they [Boyd and Bain] are sort of cartoon characters themselves,” Finlay explained, adding that the film would be made as both an hour-long doc and an 80-minute feature.
The Great Hip Hop Hoax was commissioned by ‘Storyville’ editor Nick Fraser and BBC Scotland commissioning editor for television Ewan Angus. The exec producer for ‘Storyville’ is Kate Townsend.
The news comes with Finlay’s other current project, record store documentary Sound It Out, having last month played at South By Southwest in Texas. The film will play at Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK this June.