RIP Tony Silver
Filmmaker Tony Silver passed away over the weekend. He had long been suffering from a brain condition.
Silver was the co-director (with Henry Chalfant) of Style Wars (1983), one of my personal all-time favourite films.
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of working as a programming director on a hip-hop film festival. Style Wars was our closing night gala and seeing the crowd turnout for that film was one of my proudest moments.
I won’t go so far as to say I knew or even met the man, but in our few email correspondances I geeked out knowing I was communicating with one of the legends of the culture. With Style Wars, Silver forever etched his name on the walls of hip-hop, and he did it with flourish. It was an honour to see his name pop up in my inbox.
I don’t know enough about his personal life to write a proper obit, but like the subjects he trained his lens on, Silver’s work does the talking for him. Here’s what I wrote in our festival program introduction:
…the hip-hop film scene is all encompassing, vibrant and vital. More than merely recounting the story of hip-hop, these films, through narrative and cinematic style, embody the verve of the hip-hop aesthetic: confrontational, reflective, visceral, and full of vision and imagination…
I wrote that about hip-hop films in general but it’s a good indication of how much I love Style Wars, which was, and is, my favourite of them all. I urge everyone to check it out, either again or for the first time. You won’t be disappointed.