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Bomb the System

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OK, I haven't been on 12oz for a long time, but never mind that...


Bomb the System, a film by my good friend, Adam Lough, will be screening in competition at the Urbanworld Film Festival this month.


It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and it was recently shown at the Los Angeles Film Festival. After Urbanworld, it will be shown in Greece.


For all those who didn't get to see it at Tribeca for whatever reason, now is the chance - perhaps the last chance to see it in NYC for quite a while. Now in its seventh year, the Urbanworld Film Festival is the largest internationally competitive festival of its kind.


Here is the info about the screenings:


Thursday, September 18th 10:00 PM - 12:00 AM Screen 1; Loews 34th Street

Saturday, September 20th 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Screen 2; Loews 34th Street

Call - 800.910.8722 to purchase tickets.



Bomb the System's website

Adam Lough's website (aka Piston Honda) (in the past he has done music videos for MF Doom & Kurious and Supastition)

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Here is a review of the film from Variety magazine:


Bomb the System



A richly textured drama with an angry poetic edge that gets inside the

obsessive subculture of New York graffiti artists, "Bomb the System" signals

the arrival of a talented filmmaker in NYU film graduate Adam Bhala

Lough.Displaying an incisive sense of place, an unaffected empathy for his

impassioned characters, a kinetic visual style and a driving grasp of

narrative and pacing, the 23-year-old writer-director provides a fascinating

glimpse beneath the surface of the guerilla art world that avoids the

prosaic bluster of so many indie street-life dramas. Careful positioning by

the right distrib should help the film connect with hip young urban



The New York graffiti art movement peaked in the late 1970s, became

semi-legitimized in the '80s with artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, and was

pushed further underground in the '90s when the city's transit authority

introduced a rigorous subway cleanup campaign and the NYPD Vandal Squad was

established. While a number of indie films in the '70s and '80s touched on

the phenomenon, Lough's is the first in more than 20 years to really explore

that world; helmer uses it as a gritty background for a moving story of

friendship, loss, anti-establishment struggle, artistic expression and



Despite having lost his older brother under tragic circumstances resulting

from his nightly "bombing" forays with a graffiti crew, 19-year-old Anthony

(Mark Webber) nurtures the same addiction. He hooks up with his buddy Justin

(Gano Grills) and the latter's younger brother Kevin (Jade Yorker) to

shoplift spray-paint cans and hit the streets each night, on constant alert

for cops and hostile rival crews and compulsively looking for virgin walls

in out-of-the-way spots where their work will endure.


Not long out of high school, Anthony has no ambition beyond graffiti and

getting high, but is pushed by his mother (Donna Mitchell) toward a San

Francisco art college where he's been accepted, and by his politicized

girlfriend Alex (Jaclyn DeSantis) to leave New York and travel with her.


Signing himself "Blest," Anthony is one of the most wanted graffiti writers

on the Vandal Squad's list, in particular that of hardass cop Bobby Cox (Al

Sapienza), whose coke-and-booze diet makes him increasingly vindictive. A

brush with the cop spurs Anthony and his crew to intensify their bombing

excursions, earning them greater notoriety. When the inevitable

confrontation happens, Cox's more level-headed partner (Bonz Malone) is

unable to control the strung-out cop, resulting in tragedy that pushes

Anthony to make a decision but then has darker repercussions.


Lough's screenplay at times spells out its agenda a little forcibly --

notably in an anti-corporate rant from Alex. But the story conveys a strong

sense of graffiti as a self-fulfillment mission, from the 1980s when kids

"took the paint or took the pipe" to become artists or gangsters, to the

present, when it represents a sense of purpose and belonging in an otherwise

aimless existence or even just the glue with which to cement fraternal

bonds. It also touches on the evolution of graffiti into other forms, from

Alex's more overt political poster art to the gallery-friendly work of a

former street exponent.


The dirty cop character feels somewhat cliched and is overplayed by Sapienza

as a snarling ball of hatred, but performances generally are restrained and

affecting, especially the younger characters. Webber creates a sympathetic

central character, deftly balancing intelligence, conviction and a certain

lost quality.


Expanding on an experimental short film that served as his thesis project,

Lough brings sensitivity but also an urgent, visceral feel to the gripping

drama. Working with accomplished editor Jay Rabinowitz and lenser Ben

Kutchins, the director roughs up the visual field with lots of jump cuts,

dissolves and freeze frames, playing with film speed, focus, stock exposure

and post-synched dialogue. Sharp use is made of heightened colors, often

plucking out bold primary tones within the frame to match those of the

graffiti art. Soundtrack also is densely complex, powered by a dynamic,

extremely varied techno score from independent hip-hop producer El-P.

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whoa KAST. Welcome back bro.


I was actually thiking of that cement barrier on wheels you made once. Still have the pics of that?

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Originally posted by metallix

AWESOME. i wanted to see it first time but missed it. it would help if it was on kazaa or something...


exactly what i was gonna say.........

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Awesome... thanks KAST.



If I wasn't working I'd come up to see the film in a heartbeat. Great article to boot.

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As far as I know, New York & Greece are the only upcoming stops left for this film for a while. If a distributor picks it up, you'll eventually be able to see it on DVD, if not in a theatre near you.


But here's how it works:


If you live in or near NYC, buy a ticket for a lousy 10 bucks. It doesn't support the director financially (unless he wins the competition), but it does give his movie a bigger chance of getting picked up and eventually distributed.


Extra incentive: 85% of the music is brand new from El-P...made just for the movie.

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sounds sweet, hopefully it does get put up on DVD or in more theaters as I wont be able to make any screenings.

good heads up.

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Just reminding you to buy your tickets for the upcoming screenings in NYC.


Thursday, September 18th 10:00 PM - 12:00 AM Screen 1; Loews 34th Street

Saturday, September 20th 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Screen 2; Loews 34th Street

Call - 800.910.8722 to purchase tickets.

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Guest imported_Tesseract

Watched it last night here in athens, your boy and the producer were present aswell, seemed like a cool kid...he was worried with the translation of the hip hop terms..cant blame him. I shoulda go talk to him, especially since i was the only writer in the audience(as far as i know) but i really cant stand the crowds of the artsy cinema festivals that were forming a line to bomb the kid with stupid questions...my bad.


Anyway, dude has tons of talent...The direction and the photography were off the hook, great montage, fast and shot in a way that keeps you going. I loved some scenes so much just because i've been there that i cant really be objective...however, since its not only a movie about graff- strong dramatical plot inthere aswell- i'd really like to hear what non-writers thought about it. To be completely honest, i felt like he didnt exactly find the balance line between a 'documentary' of graffiti and the dramatical plot of a 'movie'...i digged the graffiti part the most, no wonder...I'm not trying to come off as a hater, i just feel its my obligation to be sincere. It was a great movie and given its his debut i feel like he's going to get doper and doper.


The handstyles in the titles were awesome...


Thanx for bringing this to my attention,

tell your friend he rocks.

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Guest sneak

can i ask was the director a writer himself?

im hoping a london / uk distributor picks this up...

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i just saw this movie (BTS) it was pretty good. seems like the only paint used was belton, but i am sure that they sponsored all the paint for free.


there were many brief cameos from ny writers, as well as much ny graff. over all it was worth my money and trip into manhattan. there was a dope girl in the movie who played the lead character's (blest) "love interest", i hope to see more from her. the acting was tight as was the cinematography. nice plot twist at the end as well.


my friends and i were tossed over a few issues, so we had mixed reviews, but this one will obviously go down as a graff classic when it reaches the masses. i honestly hope that it gets a shot at mainstream release. but i'd still love to see a movie about mid to late 80's ny graff: hwys, trains..... that would be sick, but unaffordable for an indie film.


and i met this chick on my train ride home, so i was happy...haha

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