MBE at Sundance 2016! John Legend, Reggie Watts and More

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Sundance Film Festival 2016

Sundance Film Festival 2016
Reggie Watts, Jason Bentley and Ben Dickinson. Photo by Mark Leibowitz

The MBE crew hit the Sundance Film Festival to bring you the latest and greatest from the snowy slopes of Park City.

From the moment we landed, it was clear that Virtual Reality was the talk of the fest.

One of our favorite entertainers, Reggie Watts, was there presenting a video he conceived and composed called “Waves“, so we quickly tracked him down to talk about the new medium.

The musician/comedian/actor told us he’s been intrigued by the wonders of virtual reality since he was a kid and, when given the opportunity to create a video of his own, jumped right in. In the 10-minute piece (directed by Ben Dickinson), you get to see good Reggie battle evil Reggie, a striking appearance from Game of Thrones’ actress Nathalie Emmanuel, and – my favorite part – they bring the musical genius of Reggie’s one-man-band performances to life in a way only VR can.  Hear more here! 

Photo by Duston Todd
Photo by Duston Todd

Thursday on MBE: John Legend Explores the Underground

John Legend’s work has often straddled the worlds of activism and entertainment and his latest project is no different. At the Sundance Film Festival we got a chance to speak to John about the one-hour drama series Underground. 

Airing on WGN America this spring, it tells the story of the Underground Railroad. It follows Plantation slaves as they fight for their freedom.

The very first episode gets off to a thrilling start with a Kanye West track and we talk to John (and his producing partner Mike Jackson) about how they used current music to make it feel “more alive.” He also gives us his take on this year’s Oscar drama.

Maya Angelou
Sundance Film Festival 2016
Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack by Mark Leibowitz

Friday on MBE: Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

The very first film Jason Bentley jumped at the chance to see at Sundance 2016 was “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” – the first feature-length documentary on the legendary poet/activist.

The film had Maya’s blessing and was put together by some of the people who knew her best, including her producer (and friend) Rita Coburn Whack.  She lived an incredible life and the archival footage they present shows many sides of the artist that people like myself might be less familiar with (like her time as a calypso dancer!)

The two directors behind the film had a daunting task in telling her life story, but they put together a stunning portrait of an amazing woman. We bring you a moving conversation with the filmmakers on Monday, February 1 on MBE!