Mr. SOUL! Directed
Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard USA / 2018 / 116 minutes
Times and Venues:
Orpheum Theater SAUGERTIES
Q&A Attendees *subject to change: Melissa Haizlip, Roger Ross Williams
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Soul! tells the story of Ellis Haizlip and his ground-breaking variety show, SOUL!, that showcased the black experience in America during the late 60s and early 70s. It was a show by black people, for black people and hosted the likes of Sidney Poitier, Stevie Wonder and Maya Angelou. Haizlip, a proud gay man, boldly created a platform for black music, poetry and ideas in a racially divisive era. Directors Samuel Pollard and Malissa Haizlip (Ellis's niece) take us on the five year journey of the SOUL! series and dive into the life of its creator. I chose this film because Ellis Haizlip, who passed away in 1991, deserves recognition and admiration for his daring and profound vision. Ellis's mission was, in his own words, ‘to sensitize and involve the total community in the lifestyle and rhythm’ of black Americans. His life and career have inspired me on many levels and continues to influence my work today. —Roger Ross Williams
Melissa Haizlip enjoyed a career on Broadway and found her way into filmmaking after working in development at AFI. She produced the award-winning short You’re Dead To Me and several art films and installations for director Wu Tsang, including A Day in the Life of Bliss, acquired by MoMA for their permanent collection. She has received numerous grants, including a JustFilms Grant from the Ford Foundation, the Media Projects Production Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund Grant from the International Documentary Association for Mr. Soul! She is currently in production on Wu Tsang’s sci-fi feature A Day in the Life of Bliss. Haizlip was a 2016 Flaherty Fellow and the 2016 NBPC Artist in Residence. She lives in the Hudson Valley.
Sam Pollard is a Peabody and Emmy-Award winning filmmaker. His work as an editor (including several Spike Lee films) and producer/director spans nearly 30 years. Producing credits include Henry Hampton’s Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads, for which he received an Emmy, Hampton’s series, I’ll Make Me a World: Stories of African American Artists and Community, and for PBS Slavery by Another Name and August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand. His directing credits include Two Trains’ Runnin, The Talk: Race in America and Mr. Soul!
Cast/Featuring: Blair Underwood, Harry Belafonte, Questlove, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez
The Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization with a mission to present an
annual program and year-round schedule of film, music,
and art-related activities that promote artists, culture,
inspired learning, and diversity. The Hudson Valley Film
Commission promotes sustainable economic development
by attracting and supporting film, video and media production.