*Background History: The Hip-Hop Odyssey International Film Festival [H2O] was launched November 13, 2002 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts by a group of filmmakers, educators, activists and entrepreneurs. Showcasing an array of narrative and documentary films from around the world, many with social justice themes, H2O was the largest festival of its kind. H2O promoted the use of Hip-Hop culture as a tool to teach media literacy and social awareness.
* Odyssey Awards: The Odyssey Awards is where H2O announced the winners of the festival and acknowledge the most important Hip-Hop filmmakers, industry professionals and pioneers. This signature event features appearances and performances by Hip-Hop heavyweights such as, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, MC Lyte, Kanye West, Roxanne Shante, and Ice T.
* Evolution After 5-years: H2O ceased producing festivals and scaled backed its programming significantly. Founder Martha Diaz decided to put the festival on hiatus and produce targeted film screenings, in collaboration with, other festivals, universities, colleges, museums, and institutions of education, culture and civic engagement.
* H2ONewsreel: In 2007, H2O teamed up with Third World Newsreel to launch, H2ONewsreel. This partnership allowed H2O to become a full-service organization that provides programming, professional development training, access to media equipment and editing facilities, marketing and promotions, and distribution within the education market. H2ONewsreel is the only Hip-Hop education media distribution outlet catering to the education market.
* H2O @ The Schomburg: In 2012, the Schomburg Center for Black Research, a research unit of the New York Public Library, has agreed to archive the H2O festival collection and seminal films to offer a myriad of voices and stories that educators, students, researchers, scholars, teaching artists, and the community at-large can use for educational purposes.