2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN
Sacha Jenkins explores the history and cultural significance of the influential hip-hop collective.

Festival Section:
Indie Episodic

Sundance Program Description:

Throughout the history of hip-hop, no single group changed the game in the same way the Wu-Tang Clan did. In the early ’90s, a group of young rappers from Staten Island and Brooklyn joined forces to escape the poverty, violence, and oppression of their neighborhoods through music. Hot off the success of their single “Protect Ya Neck,” RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Raekwon da Chef, and Masta Killa “formed like Voltron” to release Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), a seminal album that redefined a genre and forever changed the economics of the industry.

The real story of the Clan unfurls here, with never-before-seen footage and interviews recounting the obstacles traversed to stay united as one Wu family. Director Sacha Jenkins (FRESH DRESSED, 2015 Sundance Film Festival) poignantly captures their struggles and triumphs in intimate detail, creating a group portrait that transcends music and delves into broader themes of race, economic strife, and brotherhood while weaving their distinctly raw and resonant sound throughout.

Some Background:

Director:

  • Sacha Jenkins
    Past Sundance docs:

    FRESH DRESSED

    Jenkins is the chief creative officer of urban culture entertainment company Mass Appeal with a background in television production and journalism, including co-founding early hip-hop zine Beat Down. He most recently directed and executive produced the Netflix hip-hop doc series RAPTURE.

Producers:

  • Robert Diggs, Clifford Smith, Gary Grice, Lamont Hawkins, Corey Woods, Darryl Hill, Elgin Turner, Dennis Coles, and Jason Hunter

    This is the first Sundance filmmaking credit for the members of the Wu-Tang Clan, better known as RZA, Method Man, The GZA, U-God, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Masta Killa, Ghostface Killah, and Inspectah Deck.

  • Icelene Jones

    Jones also makes her Sundance debut with this project. The late Ol’ Dirty Bastard was her husband.

  • Cary Graber

    This is the first Sundance credit for Mass Appeal’s Graber.

Co-Producers:

  • Vanessa Maruskin and Phoenix Skye Maulella

    Maruskin and Maulella also produce for Mass Appeal.

Executive Producer/Writer:

  • Peter J Scalettar

    Mass Appeal’s Scalettar has a background as a cinematographer, and as a veteran reality television producer, most notably for THE BACHELOR and THE BACHELORETTE.

Executive Producers:

  • Peter Bittenbender
    Past Sundance docs:

    FRESH DRESSED

    Bittenbender is the CEO of Mass Appeal.

  • Chris Gary

    Gary is the EVP, head of content at Mass Appeal.

Lead Editor/Writer:

  • Paul Greenhouse

    Greenhouse previously cut Sundance fiction feature alum CROWN HEIGHTS. He has a background editing concert films and music docs.

Editors:

  • James Lester

    Lester has edited numerous docuseries for CNN, AMC, and A&E, among other networks.

  • Sean Frechette
    Past Sundance docs:

    WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? (2008)

Why You Should Watch:
Jenkins crafts an informative and intimate series detailing the critically-acclaimed hip-hop group’s Staten Island origins and emergence in the early 1990s, drawing from a rich archive and the reflections of the musicians themselves. The first two episodes of the four-part docuseries will screen at the festival. Showtime will broadcast the series later this year.

More Info:
Sundance’s Meet the Artist Profile

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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