“Summer of Soul (… Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” Headed to Searchlight Pictures and Hulu
The film is directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and produced by Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein with RadicalMedia serving as creative and production partners.
[via press release from Hulu]
‘SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)’ HEADED TO SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES AND HULU
Documentary Set for Theatrical Release and Streaming
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.”
“Summer Of Soul (… Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” – 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. “Summer Of Soul” 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. 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.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author and member of The Roots, Questlove is the unmistakable heartbeat of Philadelphia’s most influential hip-hop group. He is the musical director for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” where his beloved Roots crew serves as house band. Beyond that, this four-time GRAMMY(R) Award-winning musician’s indisputable reputation has landed him musical directing positions with everyone from D’Angelo to Eminem to Jay-Z. Questlove has also released four books including the New York Times bestseller “Mo’ Meta Blues, Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation,” “somethingtofoodabout” and most recently “Mixtape Potluck.” Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots have executive produced the acclaimed documentary series “Hip-Hop: The Songs The Shook America” on AMC under their production company, Two One Five Entertainment, which recently announced a first-look deal with Universal Television to develop scripted and non-scripted programming. Questlove will serve as executive producer for upcoming documentary, “The League,” centered on the tumultuous journey of Negro league baseball. He also made his directorial debut with the acclaimed feature documentary “Summer Of Soul,” which explores the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. The film debuted on the opening night of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in January. Additionally, Questlove served as the executive music producer and composer on the A&E miniseries “Roots.” He also scored Chris Rock’s film “Top Five” and co-produced the GRAMMY Award-winning “Original Broadway Cast Recording of Hamilton.” Questlove also hosts his own podcast “Questlove Supreme” on iHeart. Most recently, Questlove co-starred in Disney/Pixar’s critically acclaimed animated feature “Soul,” which premiered in December 2020.
Hulu is the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand TV and movies, with and without commercials, both in and outside the home. Launched in 2008, Hulu is the only service that gives viewers instant access to current shows from every major U.S. broadcast network; libraries of hit TV series and films; and acclaimed Hulu Originals like Emmy(R) and Golden Globe(R) Award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act; Golden Globe Award-winning, Emmy Award nominated and Peabody-winning series Ramy; and Emmy Award-nominated series including Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and Pen15 alongside hit series Little Fires Everywhere from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, Normal People, The Great, Hillary, Shrill, Solar Opposites and Oscar(R) and Emmy nominated documentary film Minding the Gap and critically acclaimed Hulu Original films Palm Springs, Run and Happiest Season. The service also streams live news, entertainment and sports from 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, CBS Corporation, The CW, Turner Networks, A+E Networks and Discovery Networks – available all in one place. Upcoming Original releases include The Dropout based on the ABC News investigative podcast and starring Kate McKinnon and the book to screen adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy.
About Searchlight Pictures
Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures for both theatrical and streaming release. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and is part of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company. Founded in 1994 as Fox Searchlight Pictures, the company’s titles have grossed over $5 billion worldwide, amassing 26 Golden Globe Awards, 45 BAFTA awards, and 40 Academy Awards(R) including four Best Picture winners since 2009: Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, and The Shape of Water. Upcoming feature releases include Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, Scott Cooper’s Antlers, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, Michael Showalter’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins, David Bruckner’s The Night House, and Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. The company includes a television and streaming arm, Searchlight Television, which develops and finances series, limited series, and films for streaming, network, and cable partners. Liz Meriwether’s limited series The Dropout will debut on Hulu in 2021.
About Vulcan Productions
Since its inception, Vulcan Productions has leveraged platforms ranging from film and television to XR and other emerging media to produce and distribute content that informs, inspires, and activates audiences – putting stories to work with far-reaching impact campaigns that advance new policies, shift individual behaviors, and contribute to significant institutional change. The team will continue to tell great stories and empower audiences to take action on important issues until Vulcan Productions sunsets in early 2021. During this time of transition, Vulcan Productions will continue to support its partners on existing projects. Vulcan Productions films include The Reason I Jump, Hunger Ward, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, Ghost Fleet, The Cold Blue, Netflix Original: The Ivory Game, the Sundance Special Jury Award-winner STEP, News & Documentary Emmy(R)-nominated Going to War, Girl Rising, Racing Extinction, the Academy Award(R)-nominated Body Team 12, and emerging media works including Ghost Fleet VR, X-Ray Fashion, Drop in the Ocean, and Guardians of the Kingdom.
About Concordia Studio
Concordia is a talent-first studio, founded by Davis Guggenheim and Jonathan King, to produce and finance the most compelling storytelling with the most exciting creators. The studio’s 2021 Sundance Official Selections in U.S. Documentary Competition include Homeroom (Peter Nicks), Summer Of Soul (Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson), and At the Ready (Maisie Crow). Completed films from 2020 include Sundance Official Selections in competition Boys State (Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine) which won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary and was distributed in 2020 through Apple TV+ and A24, TIME (Garrett Bradley) which won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary and was distributed by Amazon Studios, A Thousand Cuts (Ramona S. Diaz) was released by PBS Distribution and Frontline, and Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (Bill Ross & Turner Ross) which screened at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival and was released by Utopia. Other recent work includes Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates (Davis Guggenheim) for Netflix, Sundance premiered Where’s My Roy Cohn? (Matt Tyrnauer) for Sony Pictures Classics, Sundance premiered BISBEE ’17 (Robert Greene), Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winning The Price Of Free (Derek Doneen) for YouTube Premium and From Here to Home, a series of shorts with The New York Times Op-Docs including Laura Nix’s Oscar-nominated Walk Run Cha-Cha. Concordia Studio’s executive team includes Davis Guggenheim (Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Nonfiction), Jonathan King (Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Narrative), Alexa Platt (Chief Operating Officer), Jonathan Silberberg (EVP of Nonfiction), Nicole Stott (EVP of Nonfiction), Shannon Dill (EVP of Nonfiction Physical Production), and Rahdi Taylor (EVP of Nonfiction Artists in Residence).
About Play/Action Pictures
Play/Action Pictures is a documentary feature production company founded by Philadelphia Eagles owner and two-time Academy Award(R)-winning Executive Producer Jeffrey Lurie (Inside Job, Inocente) in 2019 and headed by acclaimed producer Marie Therese Guirgis. Play/Action Pictures focuses on director-driven films that engage with the most important questions and challenges of our time. Recent and upcoming Play/Action Pictures releases include Totally Under Control by Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, MLK/FBI by Sam Pollard, Summer Of Soul by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and The Meaning of Hitler by Petra Epperlein and Mike Tucker.
About LarryBilly Productions
LarryBilly Productions is a newly formed film and TV production company founded by David Barse that provides investment and creative capital to develop and produce independent film, television and podcasts.
About Radical Media
With offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, and Shanghai, RadicalMedia is a global media company that creates and produces film, television, music programming, commercials, brand partnerships, interactive design, and digital and immersive experiences for all distribution platforms. RadicalMedia is fluent in each and every discipline of storytelling, with Oscar(R), Emmy(R), Peabody(R) and GRAMMY(R) Award accolades including the Academy Award(R)-winning documentary, The Fog of War; Netflix’s first original documentary film, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-Winning What Happened, Miss Simone?; History Channel’s top rated mini-series of all time, Grant; The top streaming film of 2020, Hamilton on Disney+; Hamilton’s America; Netflix’s Bobby Kennedy for President; and National Geographic’s Mars.
About Mass Distraction Media
Mass Distraction Media is an award-winning entertainment company co-founded by producers David Dinerstein and Robert Fyvolent. Mass Distraction Media collaborates with extraordinary storytellers to produce premium non-fiction and narrative film and television.