As Tambay posted on Friday, Samuel Pollard and Melissa Hazlip have teamed up to direct a new feature-length documentary on Ellis Haizlip, host and producer of PBS’ groundbreaking 1970s talk show series, SOUL!. The film will give a behind-the-scenes look at the show from its conception to its final broadcast, including the very public battle to keep it on the air despite a shifting political landscape.
Today signals the start of the project’s Kickstarter campaign to raise $75,000 towards principal photography. The film is in the early stages of production with roughly 30 hours of footage shot, including interviews with Ashford & Simpson, Harry Belafonte, Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan of The Last Poets, and Novella Nelson. The filmmakers hope to finish the film by 2013, with an eye towards PBS broadcast and theatrical distribution.
Mr. SOUL! is produced by Melissa Haizlip and Airrion Copeland and edited by Jason Pollard, with narration by Keith David. Award-winning cinematographer Bradford Young has also joined the team as director of photography.
Haizlip had this to say regarding the artistic style of Mr. SOUL!:
We want the film to honor – if not surpass – the vibrant, edgy style of the original SOUL! series. In order to bring SOUL! to the Millennium and make history relevant, the film has to be as visually dynamic as each episode of SOUL! We're honored to collaborate with cinematographer Bradford Young. His shots are masterful and visually compelling – I don't think I've never seen black people filmed more beautifully. There's so much intention in every frame– we're thrilled for him to bring his photographic sensibilities to the table.
The fundraising campaign kicks off with a launch party tonight at the National Black Programming Consortium in Harlem with special guests including singer Melba Moore and Dr. Loretta Long (Sesame Street), original guests on SOUL!
To support the Kickstarter campaign, click HERE.