Summer of Soul, Questlove‘s amazing directorial debut about 1969’s Harlem Cultural Festival, showcases never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension, and more. Watch the trailer:
Via People, Questlove said of his directorial debut:
The amount of anxiety of the last three years taking responsibility for this film and thinking of ideas and even trying to navigate this film in terms of the pandemic – because a big part of the editing process and interview process had to happen while we were in the middle of the pandemic – I’m just so, so relieved that it’s finally out there. I return this film back to the people of Harlem so if nothing ever happens with this film now, I’m fine with it. The fact that I was able to take and find and restore their story and bring it back to Harlem – this means everything to me.
The event took place the same summer as Woodstock, but the footage of event was largely forgotten until Questlove got involved:
Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. “Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised),” is the first official project under the recently announced Onyx Collective.
The film won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival. It will be released theatrically and streaming on Hulu on July 2.
Image: YouTube / SearchlightPictures