CHICAGO, March 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Executive Producer Chaz Ebert announces that "Mr. SOUL!", the award-winning documentary, has been nominated for Outstanding Documentary (Film), Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture) and Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture) at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards. The ceremony annually celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts and airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 27 on BET.
Grammy Award winners Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway, daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway, composed music for the film. Their song, "Show Me Your Soul," is on the Academy Award® shortlist in the Best Original Song category. The music video for the track dropped today. Oscar® nominations are announced March 15 and the ceremony is scheduled for April 25.
The film chronicles the legacy of "SOUL!", the public television variety show produced and hosted by Ellis Haizlip that turned a spotlight on the Black Arts Movement and was broadcast nationwide from 1968-1973. The film premiered on the PBS series, Independent Lens, during Black History Month and is streaming on the PBS app. The documentary is written, produced and directed by Melissa Haizlip, the show host's niece. "Mr. SOUL!" is Haizlip's directorial full length feature debut.
"Making the film helped us illuminate the groundbreaking cultural work of the man behind one of the most successful and socially significant, Black-produced television shows in U.S. history," said director Haizlip. "We're beyond honored for the acknowledgements and excited about any nominations that will serve as a way of introducing the film, the music, and Ellis Haizlip to the world. 'SOUL!' is the greatest show you've never heard of. And up until now, Ellis Haizlip has been an unsung hero. We hope our film 'Mr. SOUL!' and the music it celebrates will help to change that."
Actor Blair Underwood serves as one of the film's executive producers and narrates, providing the voice for Ellis Haizlip's sentiments. Haizlip and his inclusive crew of Black and mostly women producers, directors, crew and guest artists made history every week. The film is distributed by Shoes In The Bed Productions and Open Your Eyes & Think MF and is continuing virtual cinema releases. For a full list of showtimes, click here).
The Black Arts Movement featured timeless talents, such as Sidney Poitier, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Al Green, Muhammad Ali, Cicely Tyson, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, Ashford & Simpson, Roberta Flack, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Preston, Toni Morrison, Patti LaBelle, Black Ivory, The Delfonics, Bill Withers, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Last Poets, Wilson Pickett, Odetta, Kool & the Gang, Kathleen Cleaver, Betty Shabazz, Stokely Carmichael, Merry Clayton, Mandrill, and they all appeared on "SOUL!" The program blazed new trails for representation during a time when African Americans were not routinely featured prominently on television except in negative stereotypes. "SOUL!" premiered on September 12, 1968.
About Melissa Haizlip
Melissa Haizlip is a dynamic filmmaker who has earned many accolades for her films, including the Chaz and Roger Ebert Producing Fellowship through PROJECT INVOLVE at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. "Mr. SOUL!" has received 32 nominations and won 19 awards, including the Critics' Choice Documentary Award for Best First Feature Documentary; the Best Music Documentary at the IDA Documentary Awards; the Best Feature Documentary at the Pan African Film & Arts Festival; the Audience Award for Best Feature at the AFI DOCS Film Festival in Washington, D.C.; the HBO Jury Award and Audience Award at the Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival; the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film Finalist Award; and the Audience Award at the Woodstock Film Festival. The film made a splash at the BFI London Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. It is also nominated for Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film at the Cinema Eye Honors.
SOURCE Chaz Ebert