Winner of the Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) has landed with Searchlight Pictures and Disney General Entertainment’s BIPOC Creator initiative, led by Tara Duncan.
The acquisition is for worldwide rights, with the film set for theatrical release as well as exclusively streaming on Hulu in the U.S. and internationally on Star and Star+.
“It’s rare to find a film that captures the breadth of the Black American experience and also makes you want to dance, testify and sing out loud,” stated Duncan. “Ahmir has gifted us with a brilliantly crafted, nearly forgotten gem from our history, and we are honored to help bring ‘Summer Of Soul’ to audiences.”
Said Searchlight Chairmen Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula, “Ahmir has crafted an incredible and inspiring debut film that is both timeless and relevant. We’re very proud to be involved in bringing this cultural celebration to the widest audience possible both in theaters and at home.”
“‘Summer of Soul (Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)’ is both a joyous and revelatory documentary helmed by one of the most gifted artists of his generation,” said Rebecca Campbell, chairman, International Operations & Direct-to-Consumer, part of Disney Media Entertainment Distribution. “We’re honored Hulu and our upcoming Star and Star+ offerings will be the exclusive streaming homes around the world to this groundbreaking film.”
“I’m so honored to be allowed to manifest my dreams after all this time,” said Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson.
“This is truly an honor. ‘Summer of Soul’ is a passion project and to have it resonate with so many people on so many levels has been incredibly rewarding. I am very happy to begin this new chapter with the team at Searchlight/Disney/Hulu and look forward to sharing the important story behind the film with audiences worldwide.”
“It was a dream to work with Ahmir on bringing this long-buried treasure back into the world,” said producers David Dinerstein and Robert Fyvolent.
“It’s been overwhelming to watch audiences rediscover this lost piece of history and fall in love with our film. As people are struggling to restore their lives in the midst of a pandemic, we feel this film will bring joy, together with a needed reexamination of important social issues. We could not have asked for a better launch from the Sundance Film Festival, and we are deeply excited to partner with Searchlight Pictures, Hulu and the Disney family on an epic global release.”
“It was a joy to support Ahmir and bring this story to life,” said Jon Kamen, executive producer, CEO RadicalMedia. “We’re incredibly proud of the reaction the film has gotten from audiences and the Sundance Grand Jury, and we’re excited to share this story with viewers across the globe.”
In 1969, during the same summer as Woodstock, a different music festival took place 100 miles away. More than 300,000 people attended the summer concert series known as the Harlem Cultural Festival. It was filmed, but after that summer, the footage sat in a basement for 50 years. It has never been seen – until now.
is a stunning unearthed treasure destined to become a pillar of American music and African American history. In his striking debut as a filmmaker, the legendary musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents this transporting documentary — part concert film, part historical record — about an epic event that radiated the wholesale reevaluation of Black history, culture, fashion and music.
This rich tapestry deftly incorporates interviews with historic personalities like Harlem “Ambassador” Musa Jackson, with an unforgettable musical revue that includes interviews and performances by varied artists like B.B. King, Cal Tjader, The Harlem Calypso Band, Hugh Masekela, Mongo Santamaria, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone among many others, as well as many rare gems, such as a Stevie Wonder drum solo and a duet between Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples. 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.
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and produced by Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein with RadicalMedia serving as creative and production partners.
The executive producers are Jen Isaacson, Jon Kamen, Dave Sirulnick, Jody Allen, Ruth Johnston, Rocky Collins, Jannat Gargi, Beth Hubbard, Davis Guggenheim, Laurene Powell Jobs, Jeffrey Lurie, Marie Therese Guirgis, David Barse, Ron Eisenberg, Sheila Johnson and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Jonathan Silberberg and Nicole Stott are co-executive producers. The film is a Vulcan Productions Production in Association with Concordia Studio, Play/Action Pictures, LarryBilly Productions, and produced by Mass Distraction Media and RadicalMedia.