Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL! From 1968-1973, America got SOUL! – TV’s first “Black Tonight Show.” Mr. SOUL! The Movie is a multi-platform project centering around a feature-length documentary by Director/Producer Melissa Haizlip. The film celebrates SOUL!, the groundbreaking PBS series from its genesis to its eventual loss of funding, against the backdrop of a swiftly changing political and social landscape, while profiling Ellis Haizlip, the charismatic man behind one of the most culturally significant and successful television shows in U.S. history.
The film explores how, at a pivotal moment in American history, SOUL! influenced the country’s perception of African American culture, identity, and experience. Once completed, the film will be distributed theatrically and offered to PBS for national broadcast. The immersive, robust website will engage audiences and connect them to others in the space driven by advocacy around the larger political issues of diversity in media.
The team will put our AWB grant towards finishing funds, as well as towards a beautifully immersive Mr. SOUL! The Movie interactive website. Check out the film’s trailer here, and follow on Facebook and Twitter.