The Roots drummer Questlove is riding high over the recent news of his Hulu documentary, Summer of Soul. According to the new listing from the National Board of Review, Summer of Soul won Best Documentary. The National Board of Review is widely known for giving such films and projects huge Oscar buzz right before the award season. With such high honors, many film critics and award voting committees project the doc to make waves.
The film was released earlier this year and met with high praise for its touching message and overall celebration of Black history. Earlier in the year, Summer of Soul also took home the Best Documentary Feature at the Critics Choice Association. The documentary tells the story of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, an event showcasing the arts and cultural influences of Black artists of that time. What garnered the attention of the masses was the music and creativity that went into such a project.
“I had five months while they were processing the videotapes because it took a long time to bake it and restore it,” Questlove said during a Q&A session for Deadline’s Contenders Film: Documentary awards-season event. “I just kept this on 24-hour loop for five months in a row — in my sleep, as I was eating my food, in my office, in my studio, my bathroom. This was all that I watched for five months in a row… It’s almost like I lived with it as if it were an art installation.”
Summer of Soul allows Black excellence to shine in a way rarely seen on the big screen. Long forgotten in music history, the Harlem Cultural Festival attracted some of the biggest musical acts like Steve Wonder and Nina Simone. Throughout the documentary, Questlove gets first-hand recounts of the events during that six-week event. Questlove and the Summer of Soul has a great chance to shock the mainstream world by winning on the biggest stage.
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