Film & Discussion: 1969’s Summer of Soul & Harlem Cultural Festival (Berkeley)
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Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
In 1969, the Harlem Cultural Festival drew 300,000 people over 6 weekends, yet the footage sat in storage for 50 years and few people have ever heard of it, until now.
Watch amazing musical performances, from blues to jazz to gospel and more, set in a political context, a time when revolution was in the air, the mass resistance to the war in Vietnam, the unprecedented urban rebellions, and the Black Liberation movement, with footage of the Young Lords and the Black Panther Party, and more.
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. The feature includes 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.
SUMMER OF SOUL premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.