Sacha Jenkins, raised and educated in New York City, began publishing zines in the late ’80s, has worked at Vibe and a number of other publications, written for cartoon series “The Boondocks” and is now the creative director of massappeal.com. He knows pop culture. His interest in cultural expression has now led him to direct “Fresh Dressed,” a documentary exploring the NYC street style that came out of hip-hop and its effect on fashion the world over.
What’s your film about, in 140 characters or less?
Fresh Dressed is about the history of hip hop fashion; about stylish innovations that came from the streets of New York City and would go on to influence every nook and cranny on Mother Earth.
Now, what’s it REALLY about?
Fresh Dressed is also about the birth of hip hop and the desperate conditions that couldn’t get in the way of young people creating their own language–a language that was transmitted via music and pure style. The film also shines a light on the power of the inner city dollar and the outsiders who directly benefit from it.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
I moved to Queens from Silver Spring, Maryland, back in ’77. I was a wee lad. My mother told me to go outside and make friends. I had a football. The kids I would meet all had magic markers. The thing that would go on to be globally recognized as “hip hop” was something i did as a kid. It was our natural mode of cultural expression and I’m still here expressing.
What was the biggest challenge in completing this film?
Where and when to stop! I conducted nearly 70 interviews…what was I thinking?
What do you want audiences at Sundance to take away from your film?
I want those who have the opportunity to see “Fresh Dressed” at Sundance to have a new appreciation for tenacity of inner city folk. “Fresh Dressed” will hopefully present a view of what’s happening in black and brown America in a manner that sheds light on some of the issues we as a nation still face today…issues of race, class, opportunity and the lack thereof.
Are there any films that inspired you?
“Style Wars,” a documentary about 1980s subway graffiti culture by Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver. That film changed the lives of so many people I know.
What’s next for you?
Getting my guitar chops up. Living the life of a husband and dad. And working on the next thing!
What cameras did you shoot on?
A whole bunch!
Did you crowdfund?
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. Click here for more profiles.