Growing up in New York City clearly gave Shan Nicholson a purpose. His love for his city spawned an interest in its history, as he began to dive into past events that predated him. Growing up in New York in the 1980s, he often heard tales about the raucous 1970s. So when he set out to make his film project, Nicholson dove into something he always wanted to know more about: the history of New York City. His first work, the documentary "Downtown Calling" (2009) focused on the development of the music and the arts in the city during the tumultuous '70s as Nicholson interviewed notable figures including Debbie Harry, Mos Def, and former New York City mayor Ed Koch about how the arts guided the city through a rough time and left a lasting influence on the Big Apple to this very day. Nicholson's directorial debut premiered at the Austin Film Festival in October 2009 and slowly made its way through other festivals, even being shown in New York City to great acclaim. While he still tinkered with "Downtown Calling" even after its debut, Nicholson eventually moved on to his next projects, which still focused on the city he loved so dearly. His next project was "From Ruins They Rise" (2013), a documentary that told the story of the 1971 South Bronx gang peace treaty, which might be better known to most as the inspiration for the film "The Warriors" (1979). However, during the production of his second work, Nicholson decided to experiment with crowdfunding for his next work, which was called "Rubble Kings" (2015). On February 19, 2013, the Kickstarter campaign for "Rubble Kings" began. A month later, the Kickstarter barely reached its $50,000 goal, ending up $52,058 spread across just shy of 500 backers. Over the next two years, Nicholson worked on the project, which focused on the gangs of New York City in the 1960s and '70s. He attracted support from all different areas, as comedian Jim Carrey joined as a producer and New York City native John Leguizamo narrated the documentary.