Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s feature-film directorial debut, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), has found a release date this summer. The film is being released by Searchlight Pictures July 2, where it will be available to stream on Hulu.
Questlove is known by most as the drummer for The Roots, an acclaimed hip-hop group that also works as the band on Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show, The Tonight Show. His new documentary focuses on the 1929 Harlem Cultural Festival, which was dubbed “The Black Woodstock,” and featured concert performances B.B. King, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Sly & The Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips and more. Reportedly more than 45 hours of unseen footage that had been “[sitting] in a basement for 50 years,” was used to make the documentary.
The film earned high praise when it debuted at Sundance Film Festival where it won the grand jury prize and audience award. It was sold for more than $12 million, making it the most expensive documentary in the history of the festival.
Questlove is also set to direct a new documentary focused on funk icon Sly Stone of Sly & the Family Stone. The untitled film is being produced by rapper Common and will follow Stone’s tumultuous life and career.
“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA….” said Questlove in a press release after the documentary was announced. “It’s a Black musician’s blueprint…. To be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”