SUMMER OF SOUL (… Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) plays at the Town Hall Theatre in Quincy from Friday to Monday Feb. 18-21. Show times are 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Monday with a 4 p.m. Matinee on Sunday.
In a time when so many might be longing to experience live music, seeing this award-wining documentary film on the big screen in a theatre with surround sound and with your friends and neighbors in the audience will be as close as you can get to being there. Plumas Arts and Town Hall Theatre are thrilled to be able to offer the film this film for a celebration of Black History Month, thanks in part to support from Feather River College.
Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just 100 miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). Despite having a large attendance and musicians who defined a generation and influenced popular music for generations to come, the festival was seen as obscure in pop culture, something that the documentarians investigate in this film. The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now.
In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary that is part music film, part historical record created around an epic musical event that celebrates Black history, culture and fashion.
The feature showcases the never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, The 5th Dimension, The Staple Singers, Sly and the Family Stone, The Chambers Brothers, B.B. King, The Edwin Hawkins Singers, Mongo Santamaria, Herbie Mann and more.
How this film came to be…
At the request of festival organizer and host Tony Lawrence, television producer Hal Tuchin recorded about 40 hours of footage of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival on videotape, excerpts from which were originally broadcast on two one-hour TV specials in July and September 1969 by CBS and ABC. The tapes were later placed in a basement, where they are said to have sat for about 50 years unpublished.
In 2004, Joe Lauro, a film archivist of Historic Films Archive, discovered the existence of the footage and contacted original producer Hal Tulchin. He digitized and cataloged the footage, in the hope of working on a film about the event. Over a decade or more of deals that were were “hit and miss” eventually rights were acquired from its original producer.
The documentary premiered Jan. 28, 2021 at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the US Documentary Competition. It has received dozens of awards around the US and multiple countries in the categories of best documentary feature, archival documentary, music film, director, producer, editing, sound editing and sound design as well as audience and grand jury awards.
You may purchase advance tickets for any night of the screening on the Town Hall Theatre page at plumasarts.org. Tickets will also be available at the door.