Film highlights rise of Black Power TV
The Bermuda International Film Festival (BIFF) is to screen a documentary about a pioneering black television producer who ushered giants and rising stars of black American culture onto the national television stage in the United States.
Mr. SOUL! - Ellis Haizlip and the Birth of Black Power TV, screening as part of the festival’s BIFFlix monthly series, will screen at the Speciality Cinema in Hamilton on Wednesday April 3 at 6.30 p.m. Advance tickets are on sale now at www.ptix.bm and at the cinema’s box office. Tickets will also be sold on the door.
Haizlip was host and executive producer of SOUL!, the first “black Tonight Show” when it made its debut in 1968. He was hip, smart, innovative, and political. On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, he reconceived a Harlem Renaissance for a new era.
Altogether, Haizlip produced more than 130 hour-long shows featuring a dazzling array of A-list guests: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin, Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Ashford and Simpson, Nikki Giovanni, Al Green, Muhammad Ali – even a 16-year-old Arsenio Hall doing magic tricks.
The film’s archival footage captures many of those guest appearances – but Mr. SOUL! also invites us behind-the-scenes of this groundbreaking phenomenon, from its initial conception to its final broadcast, including the very public battle to keep it on the air despite a shifting political landscape, while offering a nuanced and fascinating portrait of the soul behind SOUL!, Haizlip, who had his own story to tell.
The film is co-winner of the International Documentary Association’s 2018 Best Music Documentary award, won the audience choice prize at the AFI Docs Film Festival, and has screened at top festivals in Toronto, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, among other locales. The film is rated 14A (Ontario).
BIFFlix screenings are held monthly at the Speciality Cinema featuring the best arthouse, foreign, documentary and independent films.
• Press release from the Bermuda International Film Festival
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