Questlove’s ‘Summer Of Soul’ Wins Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Grand Jury Prize

The documentary shines a light on a star-studded concert series from 1969.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is now an award-winning documentary. The feature was honored with two accolades at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Summer of Soul won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the U.S. Documentary categories at the Sundance Institute’s annual event. For his directorial debut, Questlove explored the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African-American music and culture.

More than 300,000 people attended the Harlem Cultural Festival in the New York City area. The concert series featured performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and other Soul/R&B acts.

The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed, but the footage reportedly sat in a basement for 50 years before being incorporated into Summer of Soul. Thompson states, “It has always been a dream of mine to direct films, and telling this story has truly been an amazing experience.”

He continues, “I am overwhelmed and honored by the reception the film is receiving and want to give special thanks to Sundance, and my production partners: Radical Media, Vulcan Productions, Concordia, Play/Action Pictures and LarryBilly Productions.”