MR. SOUL!

Co-presented by B.A.V.C.!

Host/Producer/Creator of the television show SOUL!, Ellis Haizlip, is surrounded by members of the J.C. WHITE CHOIR just after their mesmerizing performance on the show in a scene from the film MR. SOUL! DIRECTED BY MELISSA HAIZLIP. Courtesy of Shoes in the Bed Productions

Starts August 28

From 1968-1973, America got SOUL! television’s first all-black entertainment/variety show. The film celebrates the groundbreaking PBS series from its genesis to its eventual loss of funding against the backdrop of a swiftly changing political and social landscape, while profiling Ellis Haizlip, the charismatic man behind one of the most culturally significant and successful television shows in U.S. history.

Ellis Haizlip was the producer and host of SOUL!, the first black arts television showcase of its kind. Conceived in 1968 as the first “black Tonight Show,” SOUL! launched as a local, New York broadcast. By 1973, Haizlip had produced over 130 Emmy Award-winning, nationally-broadcast shows for WNET/PBS featuring a staggering array of A-list guests: Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Earth, Wind & Fire, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and Muhammad Ali. Even a 16 year-old Arsenio Hall made his television debut performing magic tricks.

Part nightclub, part salon, SOUL! offered classic live performances by up-and-coming soul, jazz, and world musicians, juxtaposed with in-depth interviews featuring actors, literary figures, prominent politicians and intellectuals. Haizlip championed early acts such as Ashford and Simpson, Roberta Flack, Al Green, Billy Taylor, Bill Withers and Patti LaBelle, pairing them alongside Toni Morrison, Muhammad Ali, Cicely Tyson, The Last Poets, Amiri Baraka, Jesse Jackson, Merry Clayton and more.

Directed by Melissa Haizlip & Sam Pollard, 2018. 104 mins.


Price: $12 (50% of proceeds support The Roxie Theater)

Rental Period: 72 hours

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