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Hulu and Searchlight Pictures acquire Questlove’s Summer of Soul documentary

Questlove premiered his documentary Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival last month. The film won audience and grand jury prizes at Sundance, and now, Hulu and Searchlight Pictures have acquired the film for more than 12 million. Getting it ready for worldwide distribution.

Summer of Soul marks Questlove’s directorial debut and already awarded him with the U.S. Documentary Competition’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. The documentary, produced by Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein, centers on the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival and features archival footage that remained unseen for 50 years. The six-week music festival, held at Mount Morris Park in Harlem, boasted a lineup of some of music’s biggest names including Stevie Wonder, the Staples Singers, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, and more.

The project landed with Searchlight Pictures and Disney's General Entertainment’s BIPOC Creator initiative. Tara Duncan, leader of the BIPOC Creator initiative told Variety:

“It’s rare to find a film that captures the breadth of the Black American experience and also makes you want to dance, testify and sing out loud,”
“Ahmir has gifted us with a brilliantly crafted, nearly forgotten gem from our history, and we are honored to help bring ‘Summer Of Soul’ to audiences.”

Searchlight Chairmen Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula added:

“Ahmir has crafted an incredible and inspiring debut film that is both timeless and relevant. We’re very proud to be involved in bringing this cultural celebration to the widest audience possible both in theaters and at home.”

The documentary was acquired for more than $12 million and thereby broke the documentary sales record previously broken when Apple and A24 acquired “Boys State” at Sundance last year. The deal was brokered by Cinetic Media and set the movie up for theatrical release, as well as exclusively streaming on Hulu in the U.S. and internationally on Star and Star plus.


Source: Pitchfork | Variety