I screened this a few months ago, when it debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival, and thought it was ok; not as revealing a portrait as I expected it to be, but maybe that's thanks to my own expectations of what the film was going to be about.
It's really a documentation of John Forté's concert tour across Russia (hence the title) soon after he was released from prison in 2008 – the ups and downs, as well as some moments of reflection scattered about.
I kind of felt like a meal you really look forward to eating, and after you eat it, feel satiated but not still crave something more that you didn't get from it, that you hoped you would have.
Still, it's recommended viewing. At least see it for yourselves, now that it's been reported that FilmBuff will release The Russian Winter (directed by Petter Ringbom) on VOD on October 23.
And after that release, look for a new studio soundtrack album from Forté, featuring the likes of Raekwon, Natasha Bedingfield, SunSay, Alina Orlova, Billy's Band, Zero People, Margulis and Romario.
Brooklyn-born John Forté was a Grammy-nominated musician in The Fugees at 21 and a federal prison inmate at 26. When his prison sentence was remarkably commuted in 2008, Forté was given a second chance to share his talents with the world. Chronicling his concert tour across Russia, this inspirational documentary takes us on Forté's personal journey—one that's as much about having his music heard as it is about hearing and learning from the music of others.
Watch the trailer below: