Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), directed by four-time Grammy-nominated artist Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, has landed with Hulu and Searchlight Pictures. Thompson’s directorial debut has reached massive acclaim after its Sundance release, winning both the coveted U.S. Grand Jury Prize for documentaries and Audience Award.
The masterpiece film centers on never-before-seen footage of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival that amassed over 300,000 attendees in the summer of 1969. Lost and largely unheard of in the treasured archives of African American musical history, the documentary splits into a “part concert film, part historical record” — featuring Nina Simone, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, Mahalia Jackson and Harlem “Ambassador” Musa Jackson — to chronicle the grandeur and magnetism of Black culture throughout the six-week festival.
“I’m so honored to be allowed to manifest my dreams after all this time. This is truly an honor,” Thompson said in a statement. 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.”
The acquisition falls under Disney General Entertainment’s BIPOC Creator initiative, led by Tara Duncan, and sets the project up for theatrical release along with exclusive streaming on Hulu in the U.S. and internationally on Star and Star+. According to Variety, the project was acquired for more than $12 million, surpassing the documentary sales record set at Sundance last year with Boy’s State.
“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,” Duncan said in a statement. “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.”
Summer Soul is produced by Josh Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein along with RadicalMedia serving as both creative and production partners.