This afternoon, I grabbed a friend and dashed out of the office to the Music Cafe to catch a set by John Forte. The former Fugee who received a 14-year prison sentence for a non-violent drug offense shared songs from his recent and upcoming albums. In doing so he showed that he needs no more than his story and his voice to captivate an audience. For me, it was one of those perfect Sundance moments -- the kind that make me feel alive and warm and deeply certain that there is nowhere else I'd rather be.
Released last summer, Style FREE the EP is Forte's personal account of his 7-year incarceration; his full sentence was commuted by President Bush and he was released in 2008). Written while serving his partial sentence, Forte's lyrics tell of his spiritual journey while imprisoned. His compositions and instrumentation reveal his musical evolution -- he taught himself to play guitar while in prison. His website describes the album as, "bear[ing] witness to the remaking of a man." In many ways, Forte embodies the Festival's RE message this year and he is the man behind the music heard in the Festival's four REBEL trailers this year.
SPECIAL NOTE: Sundance Institute is deeply grateful to John for his generous contribution to our Festival trailers. We are also deeply grateful to John's fellow, and equally generous, collaborators on the trailers: Jan Fleming, Josh Rogers, Buck Animation, Fotokem, and Martell Sound.