Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (USA, 2021, 117 min.). Digital. English with open captions.
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 an unforgettable musical revue that includes 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.
The film begins at sundown, around 8 pm. Seats and free snacks are provided by Chase, but feel free to bring your own blanket or low chairs (maximum 3 feet high), food, and nonalcoholic beverages to enjoy during the film. Space is limited; arrive early to guarantee your spot.
In case of inclement weather, the screening will be rescheduled to Saturday, June 26, and will be held indoors in Remis Auditorium; limited seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.