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MIFF Centrepiece Gala - Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) Unclassified 18+

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The “Black Woodstock” of 1969, which was filmed but never seen, finally makes it to the big screen in this Sundance US Documentary Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner.

A hundred miles south of Woodstock, some of the biggest names in blues, gospel and soul – including Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, BB King and Mahalia Jackson – prepare to take the stage. It’s 1969, the year of the Manson murders, the moon landing and the third Harlem Cultural Festival, which brought almost 300,000 people to Upper Manhattan’s Morrison Park. The concert series, held over a series of weekends, was filmed by Hal Tulchin, yet his footage of this history-making event remained locked in a basement for 50 years … until now.

The feature documentary debut of The Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is a long-overdue corrective for this erased watershed moment. Piecing together interviews and archival footage – including spine-tingling performances from Simone, Wonder, King, Jackson, Mavis Staples, Gladys Knight and more – this stunning, exuberant time capsule chronicles, with comprehensive precision, a pioneering celebration held by and for the African American community. With attention also paid to the festival’s place at the intersection of the waning civil rights movement and burgeoning Black Power movement, Summer of Soul revels in the rich rebellion of Black resistance through song.

“This sizzling concert film is a resurrected piece of power-to-the-people art, featuring dizzyingly rich footage … [It] reclaims a forgotten piece of Black culture with aching timeliness.” – Harper’s Bazaar

For more venue information and for information about accessible services provided at MIFF this year, please go to miff.com.au/access.

To ensure that MIFF can provide you with the best customer service, if you require any accessibility services that MIFF offers at any MIFF venues, please book your ticket by emailing boxoffice@miff.com.au or by phone on 03 9087 3395.

Featured Subject
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Chris Rock, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, Abbey Lincoln, BB King, Moms Mabley, Jesse Jackson, Sal Masekela, Mavis Staples, The 5th Dimension, Sly and the Family Stone, David Ruffin, Hugh Masekela, Cal Tjader, Max Roach, The Chambers Brothers, Knight & The Pips, John V. Lindsay, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Babatunde Olatunji, Ray Barretto, Herbie Mann, Edwin Hawkins Singers, Denise Oliver-Velez, Mongo Santamaria, Greg Tate
Director
Questlove (as Ahmir-Khalib Thompson)
Producers
David Dinerstein, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent
Cinematographer
Shawn Peters
Editor
Joshua L. Pearson
Premiere Status
Australian Premiere
Format
Digital
Company Credit
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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