Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson tore the roof off this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival with Summer of Soul, his rollicking documentary about the incredible music on display during the nearly-forgotten Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969. That film won the Audience Award and the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the festival earlier this month, and now Thompson has announced he’s returning behind the camera to make a feature documentary about Sly Stone, founding member of the influential band Sly and the Family Stone and one of the musicians who appeared on stage in the archival footage in Summer of Soul.
Learn more about his Sly Stone documentary below. Read More »
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the drummer for The Roots, made his feature directorial debut with Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), a documentary about a nearly-forgotten music festival held in Harlem in 1969. The movie was selected as one of the opening night films of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and after earning an incredible amount of buzz there, it has now been picked up by Searchlight Pictures.
The company has acquired the worldwide rights to the acclaimed film, which just pulled off the impressive feat of winning both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary and the Audience Award for Documentary at Sundance. Summer of Soul will be released theatrically, but it will also be available to stream on Hulu in the United States and internationally on Star and Star+.
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The 1969 Woodstock music festival, which featured performances by artists like Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who, seared its way into the public consciousness almost immediately and became an almost mythical touchstone for the anti-establishment movement of the 1960s.
But that same summer, 100 miles away, the Harlem Cultural Festival – which would later be nicknamed “Black Woodstock” – featured an equally incredible lineup of Black musicians and performers. Even though it was filmed by a professional crew, the footage was never picked up by a film distributor or broadcast network, so it sat in a basement for 50 years. Thankfully, though, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots has exhumed it and used this amazing archive as the backbone of his feature directorial debut, a documentary called Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). Read More »