Melissa Haizlip‘s award-winning documentary, “Mr. Soul!”, which opened in over 50 cinemas across the nation last month and expanded to 87 virtual cinemas, has had it’s run extended through Thursday, September 24th (click here for the full list of venues). The film chronicles the legacy of “SOUL!”, the public television variety show produced and hosted by Ellis Haizlip (the director’s uncle) that turned a spotlight on the Black Arts Movement. In his four-star review of the film published on this site, our critic Glenn Kenny wrote that “the clips from the show—and seriously, can someone assemble the entire series and get it on streaming, or physical media somehow—reveal it as a phantasmagoria of Black excellence.”
Representatives of the Black Arts Movement who appeared on the show were timeless talents the likes of Sidney Poitier, The Last Poets, Gladys Knight, Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Al Green, Muhammad Ali, Cicely Tyson, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Ashford and Simpson, Roberta Flack, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, Billy Preston, Black Ivory, The Delfonics, Bill Withers, Nikki Giovanni, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Sonia Sanchez, Wilson Pickett, Odetta, Merry Clayton, Mandrill, Kool and the Gang, Toni Morrison, Kathleen Cleaver, Betty Shabazz, Stokely Carmichael, Mrs. George Jackson, George Faison and Patti Labelle. During a time period when African-Americans were not routinely featured prominently on television except in negative stereotypes, this program blazed new trails for representation during its run from 1968 through 1973.
Melissa Haizlip is a dynamic emerging filmmaker who has earned many accolades for her films, including the Chaz and Roger Ebert Producting Fellowship through PROJECT INVOLVE at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. “Mr. SOUL!” won the Best Music Documentary at the IDA Documentary Awards, the Best Feature Documentary at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival, the Audience Award for Best Feature at the AFI DOCS Film Festival in Washington, D.C., the Audience Award at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, the Meta Award at the Dallas Videofest/Docufest and made a splash at the BFI London Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Find all the venues where “Mr. Soul!” will be screening virtually through September 24th at the film’s official site linked here, where you’ll also learn how to purchase your tickets at your favorite independent theater and support Black independent film and filmmakers. Below you will find the director’s recent interview on “Good Morning America.”
NOTE: Chaz Ebert is also an executive producer of the film.