Programme

Summer of Soul

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson

United States, 2021 / 117 min / English OV / Documentary

A collaboration with Den Atelier

Summer of 1969. Over the course of six weeks, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, the legendary Harlem Cultural Festival celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity. The footage was largely forgotten–until now.

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, the musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around this epic event which has been largely forgotten, unlike the "white" Woodstock which has been widely documented and mystified.

The documentary 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. We discover 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.

Audience Award Sundance & Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival 2021 and shortlisted for the Oscars 2022.

Screenings

“The best concert film ever made?” (…) an absolute joy, uncovering a treasure trove of pulse-racing, heart-stopping live music footage (originally captured by TV veteran Hal Tulchin) that has remained largely unseen for half a century. (…) One of the best concert movies of all time.” Mark Kermode, The Guardian, 18/07/2021

“Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson, Mavis Staples and others shine in a documentary about the Harlem Cultural Festival from Questlove.” Wesley Morris, The New York Times, 24/06/2021

"Damn near a music-doc masterpiece", David Fear, Rolling Stones, 25/06/2021

Summer of Soul is not just a great music documentary but an exhilarating time capsule.” Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post, 29/06/2021

“Questlove and Sundance can’t rescue all of Black history from erasure, but they’ve saved a magical piece of it in “Summer of Soul.” Steve Pond, The Wrap, 24/06/2021

"A thrilling step back in time." Kevin Maher, The Times, 16/07/2021

Awards
  • Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival, 2021 (USA)
  • Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival, 2021 (USA)
Cast & Credits
Cinematographer 
Shawn Peters
Montage 
Joshua L. Pearson
Music 
Randall Poster
Production 
Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein
Distribution 
The Walt Disney Company
Biography

Ahmir Khalib Thompson aka “Questlove” was born in 1971, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, designer, New York Times bestselling author and cofounder of Philadelphia’s most influential hip-hop group, the Roots. He is the musical director for The Tonight Show. He has won four Grammy Awards for his music. He is also an adjunct professor at the New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.

Summer of Soul is his first film.

Filmography
  • 2021 - Summer of Soul