“The Lost Tapes” represents Justin’s full-length feature debut; it is a visual account on the current state of hip hop: in its community, in its industry, and in its overall culture. Justin follows practitioners of hip hop’s founding elements-MC’ing, DJ’ing, break-dancing, graffiti, and knowledge, wisdom and understanding-to get an accurate assessment on where these elements stand in a modern context as the film explores the merits, contradictions, and significance of the most important cultural movement of our times. Featuring live performances, behind the scenes access footage, and candid interviews with hip hop artists both established as well as up-and-coming, “The Lost Tapes” attempts to sort through the litany of stereotypes within the culture, as well as the perceptions of the public at large. The film’s ultimate goal is to enlighten today’s generation that has come of age under a co modified perception of what hip hop is, and expose them to the true essence of the culture.
About Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas was born in the Bronx, New York, but was raised in the suburbs of New Jersey. From a young age, Justin exhibited traits of a profound artistry, drawing and illustrating as a toddler, and was eventually writing his own short stories and books by elementary school. By the time he entered high school, Justin’s writing had evolved to incorporate poetry and for a short time he dabbled in spoken word performances; in 2002, he became a member of the Live Poets Society. As a teenager, Justin displayed promise in the medium of oil paints and charcoal illustrations, and his portfolio enabled him to be accepted into the School of Visual Arts at SUNY Purchase College, NY as a graphic design major.
During his tenure at the university, Justin discovered video art, and became enraptured in creating his own short experimental films. For two years, he was an intern for the college television station, editing contributed content to be aired on the channel, in addition to writing, filming, and editing his own weekly music showcase. He also garnered a reputation from faculty and fellow students for his graphic design talents, designing posters for many of the college organizations and their respective events/promotions. In 2007, Justin began an internship with Baeble Music, an indie music website operating out of New York City.
While with Baeble, Justin wrote reviews of album releases and live performances, and was also responsible for uploading performance content onto the website. In the winter of 2007 and into 2008, Justin created a commercial for the website and edited several music news segments that were broadcast on the site weekly. Upon graduating SUNY Purchase in the summer of 2007, Justin lent his writing and editing abilities to People’s Television, an upstart film company founded by college friend Nicholas Bruckman, and contributed to the creation of the documentary short “The Grey Movie” as the film’s associate producer. “The Grey Movie” was sponsored by the Reach Film Fellowship, and in March of 2008 had its screening debut at the Grammercy Park Hotel in New York City. In the fall of 2008, Justin took an intensive course on film and video editing at the New York Film Academy; that same year, he filmed and edited a documentary on the theatre project “Men Always Leave”, a play written and directed by playwright and spoken word artist Naima Yetunde Ince.
In 2009, Justin contributed to the production of the short film “The Bridge”, directed by Philipp Wolter; on set he assisted in grip and lighting. Beginning in 2009, Justin initiated work on his first full-length documentary, an indictment on the current state of the hip hop community and culture entitled “The Lost Tapes”; the film is tentatively slated for release in the second half of 2010.