In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary: part music film, part historical record, created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. 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. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more. SUMMER OF SOUL won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Feature Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Laemmle Theatres opens in July 2 at the Claremont, Glendale, Monica Film Center, Newhall, NoHo and Playhouse theaters.
Reviews have been rapturous:
“A joyous piece of filmmaking, something that I could have watched for literal hours, and contains quite simply some of the best concert footage ever put on film.” ~ Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“You can come for the music and stay for the politics, or vice versa; either way, it’s a vibrant document of an inspiring event that never loses sight of what that event meant for a community, a city and a culture.” ~ Steve Pond, TheWrap
“Seething through the entire documentary, against the backdrop of a racially turbulent 1960s, is an insistence on a new kind of racial pride and unity across the diaspora, which infuses “Summer” with an honesty and realism.” ~ Tambay Obenson, indieWire
“The lack of awareness of this event is another tragic example of black history being ignored. Only this time the record survived, and now we all get to share in it.” ~ Jordan Hoffman, Guardian)