After more than a decade of grinding away in various production roles in Hollywood, Dallas-area native Tim Newfang is bringing his first feature documentary film home.
His award-winning Sons of St. Clair follows Bone Thugs-n-Harmony members Krayzie Bone and Bizzy Bone as they create their latest album, New Waves. The documentary screens for moviegoers Wednesday and Thursday at the Dallas International Film Festival — about 30 minutes from where Newfang grew up.
Newfang was raised in Plano and graduated from Plano Senior High School before enrolling at Texas Tech. He didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do after college but knew it had to be in entertainment.
“I didn’t have any family members in the business, so I had no idea what a career in film looked like or how to get there,” he says. “But I’ve always been a creator.”
After graduating from Tech, Newfang hit the road to Los Angeles with nothing but his dog and his clothes.
He started on the ground floor with personal assistant jobs on indie flicks, TV shows and any other project he could find. After a stint producing series for Fox Sports and Spike TV, he ended up in the director’s chair for a documentary about a race car driver.
“I fell in love with documentaries because I loved telling real stories,” he says.
His business partner, Tanner Beard, also a Texan, was eager to work with Newfang on a feature documentary. Newfang, an avid hip-hop fan with a penchant for '90s rap, started looking for stories from that era that had yet to be told. That led them to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. But the group has been an international sensation for more than 25 years, and Newfang and Beard had to find the best way to tell its story in a 90-minute film.
“We wanted to do their story justice, so we focused on what’s happening right now,” Newfang says.
At the time, that was New Waves — the first album that Krayzie and Bizzy have produced apart from the four other members of Bone Thugs. Sons of St. Clair — named for the Ohio neighborhood where the group grew up — follows the two artists as they create the long-awaited album.
“It came about organically,” Krayzie Bone says of the documentary. “The chemistry with Tim and Tanner was great, and their vision for the story made the whole process seamless.”
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Beard, who served as producer, says the film is much more than a music documentary.
“It’s a story about working hard to achieve goals,” he says. “It touches on the hardships of achieving the American dream. It touches on a great history many people haven’t heard before, and all that is centered around some incredible music.”
The movie won best documentary at the Mammoth Film Festival in L.A., but Newfang has been most excited about the film fest in Dallas.
“I can't wait to share this with my family, my friends and my city,” he says. “It’s the best homecoming we could ask for.”