BACKGROUND HISTORY

The Hip-Hop Odyssey (H2O) International Film Festival was the first and largest festival of its kind. It was launched on November 13, 2002, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts by a group of filmmakers, educators, activists, and entrepreneurs. Exhibiting an array of narrative and documentary films from around the world, many with social justice themes, the mission of H2O is to utilize Hip-Hop culture as a tool to effectively encourage critical thinking, social change, and unity while empowering filmmakers and the community. H2O included The Odyssey Awards, where we celebrated the winners of the festival and acknowledge the most groundbreaking Hip-Hop filmmakers, industry professionals, and pioneers. This signature event features appearances and performances by Hip-Hop heavyweights like Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, MC Lyte, Kanye West, Roxanne Shante, and Ice T. Alongside the annual festival, H2O has partnered with other Hip-Hop film and music festivals to curate award-winning selections in International film markets such as Cuba, Brazil, The Netherlands, and South Africa.

In 2007, H2O teamed up with Third World Newsreel to launch, H2ONewsreel. This partnership offers hip-hop filmmakers the full-service of the Third World Newsreel organization that provides professional development training, access to media equipment and editing facilities, marketing and promotions, and distribution within the education market. The mission of H2ONewsreel is to build an alternative media outlet that provides a cultural and educational balance, economic sustainability, and industry longevity by creating distribution opportunities for independent and established Hip-Hop artists, educators, and filmmakers whose work display and define the variety of socially conscious images and stories that depict Hip-Hop culture. Check out our catalog.

In 2013, H2A donated the H2O collection and seminal films to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of the New York Public Library. The largest collection of its kind offers a myriad of hip-hop voices and stories that educators, students, researchers, scholars, teaching artists, and the community-at-large can use for educational purposes. This long-term partnership will enable us to continue our effort to preserve Hip-Hop culture.