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Screener Squad: Summer of Soul

Summer of Soul Movie Review


From talented multi-hyphenate Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson comes “Summer of Soul” an electrifying documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. For six consecutive weekends, the festival provided live music, comedy, dance, poetry and thought-provoking commentary to over 30,000 residents of Harlem, free of charge. That same summer, a mere 100 miles away, the Woodstock Festival became globally famous, generating both a blockbuster concert film and a best-selling soundtrack. Like Woodstock, the Harlem Cultural Festival also featured an incredible line-up and was also filmed for posterity. So why is the Harlem Cultural Festival (sometimes referred to as the Black Woodstock) not better known? Why was concert footage from Stevie Wonder, The Staples Singers, BB King, The 5th Dimension, Sly and the Family Stone, The Chambers Brothers, Hugh Masekala, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone (and many others) allowed to sit on a shelf for over 50 years? People who attended this celebration of Black culture claim they felt forever changed afterwards. How many other people might have been similarly impacted, had the Harlem Cultural Festival been available to them to experience in theaters or on their record players? These are just some of the questions director Questlove explores in a documentary guaranteed to wind up on a lot of this year’s “Best Of” lists. Featuring interviews with festival organizers, performers, and attendees, and great performances from legendary artists, this is definitely a film to watch with the sound turned up. Our reviewers Chad, Frank and Marco were impressed and moved by “Summer of Soul”. This one comes highly recommended.


DIRECTED BY: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson




Chad Halvorsen (Screener Squad)

Chad Halvorsen currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, where he produces and edits commercials, films, and everything in between. He was always a fan of film/television growing up, spending days in the Summer, making (terrible) home movies with his brothers. Little did he know that passion would carry on into adulthood. Since 2006, Chad has worked for several agencies in various departments. Shooting, producing, editing, production management, directing, and when forced to, writing copy. In 2015, Chad decided to take the big leap and become a freelancer. Since then, he’s produced content for Lyft, AT&T, Target, and Discovery Network. His passion lies in entertaining people, making them feel better, even for a moment. All the pain and suffering of this business is worth it, if even just one person views his work. Chad is a frequent podcaster, most notably posing as a co-host for the podcast “The Film Illogical Society.”



Frank Calvillo (Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad)

Born and raised in South Texas, Frank currently lives in Austin and has been in love with movies ever since his father showed him some Three Stooges shorts when he was five years old. Today he loves all kinds of film, regardless of era, country, budget or genre. He believes every film has an audience and is at least one person’s favorite movie. After writing for Sight & Sound and Slackerwood, he now writes for Cinapse where his increasingly random taste in all flavors of cinema (from Rashomon to Mars Attacks!) continues to thrive. His ultimate goal is to write a script for his boyhood crush, Michelle Pfeiffer.



Marco Noyola (Digital Noise, Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad, Audio Editor)

By day, Marco is a mild-mannered office worker, but by night he is a mild-mannered movie watcher. He does other mild-mannered stuff too.

“You don’t need to follow me. You don’t need to follow anybody!”




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