Scene It: Michael Holman

A look into the 2009 film projects of White Walls artist, Michael Holman.

After quitting his job as an investment banker in the 80s, Michael Holman turned to film, music, and art for fulfillment. He was influential in the underground hip hop scene of the time and he started one of the first noise bands with Jean-Michael Basquiat.

Holman now looks back on these days through the film Downtown Calling, which he is co producing. The documentary focuses on the dance, music, art and club scenes of downtown New York City during the early 80s. The cast includes musicians and graff writers such as DJ AM, Mos Def, Jaleel Bunton and Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, Chris Stein of Blondie, Daze, and Fab 5 Freddy.

The film will be screened at the Austin Film Festival on October 24th and 29th. Watch the film trailer here to get a feel for the upbeat energy of Downtown Calling.


Film Synopsis

In the late 1970s, the “greatest city in the world” was teetering on the edge of total chaos. A failed economy, crime and en mass housing corruption gave way to a city in crisis. Yet out of the economic and social strife that held the “Big Apple” hostage, a family of homegrown cultures that would forever change the world began to emerge. Downtown Calling not only documents, in detail, the evolution of New York City’s fertile music and art subculture during this period, but how its collective output continues to play a prominent, driving role in the international fashion, art and music industries today. –Downtown Calling official site

Richard Ableton
© Richard Ableton

The noise band that Michael started with Basquiat, Gray, is still in existence. Other members had been invited into the group before Basquiat’s death: Shannon Dawson, Wayne Clifford, Nick Taylor and Vincent Gallo. They carry on the legacy of Gray, which will be releasing a new album this year. Also, their song “Drum Mode” is featured in the documentary Blank City along with two film excerpts from Michael’s repertoire.’s band, Gray © Philmreel

We look forward to getting our hands on these new projects from Michael Holman. He is a man of many talents!


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