In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, “Soul!” set the standard for revolutionary TV talk.
Now the new documentary “Mr. Soul!” is telling the story of the program, which was unapologetic in its presentation of the best in Black music, literature and political thought.
The documentary received its Detroit premiere at Freep Film Festival in 2019. Beginning this week, it’s getting its national release via virtual screenings.
More: Freep Film Festival doc ‘Mr. Soul!’ revisits groundbreaking TV event for African Americans
To celebrate its arrival, Freep Film Festival is partnering with Cinema Detroit on a special drive-in screening of the film on Friday.
The film includes contemporary interviews exploring the show’s lasting importance, along with archival footage of the likes of Sidney Poitier, James Baldwin, Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Gladys Knight, Al Green, the Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni and many more.
When the film played Freep Film Festival in 2019, director Melissa Haizlip talked about the documentary and her uncle Ellis Haizlip, who was the founder and producer of the show.
“He was considered to be the Black Johnny Carson,” Haizlip said of her uncle. “It was the first time that a person of color had agency to decide what would be shown, who would be on and saying, ‘These folks are representative of what’s happening in the culture.’ ”
Special drive-in screening
Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Fri. Film starts at 8:30 p.m. No late arrivals.
Tickets are $15 per person in advance, $12 for Cinema Detroit members and $18 on the day of show. Purchase at the Cinema Detroit website.
Herman Kiefer complex
1151 Taylor St., Detroit
Masks are required, and vehicles will be parked at least 6 feet apart. Contactless concessions will be available.
More details on the drive-in screening can be found at the event’s Facebook page.
Rent the film at home