Summer of Soul is a feature documentary about the Harlem Cultural Festival directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. 

This film marks Thompson’s feature directorial debut and focuses on the 1969 outdoor festival in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park. The festival featured dozens of  extraordinary  performances by artists including Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone, B.B. King, the Staple Singers, the 5th Dimension, David Ruffin, Mahalia Jackson and Gladys Knight and the Pips.

The Harlem Cultural Festival took place the same summer as the famed Woodstock festival, and boasted an attendance on par with that concert 100 miles away.  Over 300,000 people attended, yet it received virtually no coverage from the mainstream media. The 40 hours of never-seen-before footage was originally shot by the late television pioneer Hal Tulchin, but has remained in storage for the past 50 years, keeping this incredible event in America’s history lost - until now. 


Critics Choice Docs Awards
Best Documentary Feature
Best Director
Best First Documentary Feature
Best Editing
Best Archival
Best Music Documentary

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards
Best Documentary/Non fiction
Best Editing

Sundance Film Festival Awards
Audience Award
Grand Jury Prize

Chicago Film Critics Society
Best Documentary

National Board Of Review
Best Documentary
Directed by

Ahmir Thompson

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson marks his directorial debut with this documentary feature.

Summer of Soul prominently features singer, songwriter and activist Mavis Staples in never seen before footage.
skip to main nav