Jupiter Entertainment is adapting the best-selling book Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop by Vikki Tobak into a feature documentary, the prodco announced on Thursday (Aug. 26).
Jupiter will adapt the book alongside Universal Music Group’s Mercury Studios and Republic Records’ Federal Films. Mercury Studios will also handle sales and marketing of the film. Acclaimed filmmaker Joseph Patel will direct the feature, after recently helping produce Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), which won the 2021 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Documentary.
Tobak’s photo book, published in 2018, chronicles hip hop’s rise through four decades. The book was complemented by a series of experiential photographic exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Abu Dhabi curated by Tobak under the creative direction of hip hop pioneer and artist Fred Brathwaite (also known as Fab 5 Freddy).
The film will explore the American cultural phenomenon and the ways in which it’s shaped how we see and hear the world. The film will use rare materials from outtakes of more than 100 photo shoots, intimate diaries and contact sheets, alongside stylized set pieces, interviews and verite featuring icons of the genre.
“Hip-Hop has always been about self-definition especially when it comes to visuals and style,” Tobak said in a release.
“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.”
Patrick Reardon from Jupiter, Chris Blackwell and Dana Sano from Federal Films and Barak Moffitt and Daniel Seliger from Mercury Studios will executive produce the documentary, along with Tobak and Brathwaite.
Brathwaite called the book and documentary the first comprehensive look at the history of hip-hop images.
“From the culture’s early days to what’s poppin’ now, this project shows the truly global impact Hip-Hop has made,” Brathwaite said in a release. “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.”