On the set of SOUL!, original director Stan Lathan stands with the cameraman filming a segment featuring Ellis Haizlip (host) with
special guest filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song) in a scene from MR. SOUL! – A FILM BY MELISSA HAIZLIP –
Courtesy of Shoes In The Bed Productions


Comedian/Actress/Producer Amanda Seales will guest host the upcoming Mr. SOUL! PREMIERE KICKBACK – a special online talkback celebrating the opening weekend of the award winning film – Mr. SOUL! – directed by Melissa Haizlip and the nation’s March on Washington weekend. The film, opening Friday, August 28 in over 50+ theaters across the nation in virtual cinemas, is a tribute and an important look back at America’s first “Black Tonight Show” that aired directly from New York on public broadcasting from 1968-1973 at the height of the Black Power Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. Aptly titled SOUL!, this groundbreaking show was produced and hosted by Ellis Haizlip aka Mr. SOUL!  He was hip, smart, innovative, political and gay. In his personal fight for social equality, he ensured the revolution would be televised. And that Revolution was his TV show SOUL! – an incredibly unique weekly television show that aired on public television from 1968 – 1973 celebrating Black American culture, art, life, love and community, which he shared with households across the nation in their living rooms every week. 

The distributors Shoes In The Bed Productions and Open Your Eyes & Think MF will present a star-filled celebration/dialogue on Sunday, August 30th at 4PM PT/7PM ET online featuring:
Filmmaker Melissa Haizlip; actor and Executive Producer Blair Underwood; legendary director/producer Stan Lathan (who also appears in the film); Grammy® winner and the film’s composer Robert Glasper; award-winning writer, poet and activist Nikki Giovanni; award-winning poets/musicians The Last Poets and Felipe Luciano; the R&B group Black Ivory;  and the iconic author, poet and professor Sonia Sanchez.

“Our Mr. SOUL! PREMIERE KICKBACK will be just like a re-creation of the SOUL! show for a new audience, with these amazing guests in conversation with Amanda Seales. Amanda will moderate a conversation with both artists from the film and the original series, to talk about the cultural impact of SOUL! and its special guests, like James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni, and the legacy of Ellis Haizlip and SOUL! for a millennial audience,” says the film’s director Melissa Haizlip. “Every week on SOUL!,  Ellis featured our nation’s cultural icons in front of and behind the camera, who then went on to become important cultural and artistic leaders in America.  With the current ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, and as our nation is on the eve of a great racial reckoning, Ellis’ mission, his show and the artists he gave a platform to have become even more important now. That inspiration and that courage during that time period is a road map for our young leaders and the movement today. I am so looking forward to this kickback with these artists and leaders.”

Tickets to the Mr. SOUL! PREMIERE KICKBACK are part of the opening weekend ticket package. When you buy a ticket to the film for this weekend, you will get a code for tickets to this special online gathering. Log on to the website – www.mrsoulmovie.com; select the “screenings” tab; then choose the theater you want to support, and purchase your ticket.  Once you purchase your ticket you have seven days to activate the link and 72 hours to watch the film. You will also be given a code to attend the Mr. SOUL! PREMIERE KICKBACK.

Mr. SOUL! opens in over 60 theaters in the virtual cinema space on Friday, August 28.  The film world premiered at TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL where audiences embraced it. Mr. SOUL! went on to win a number of awards on the festival circuit playing over 30 film festivals, including HOT DOCS, AFI Docs, BFI London, Woodstock Film Fest, Pan African Film Festival, Urbanworld, Los Angeles Film Festival and more. The film has won over 17 awards including the International Documentary Association (IDA) Best Music Documentary; the Finalist Award for the Inaugural Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize For Film; AFI Docs Audience Award; Woodstock Best Documentary; and many more. 

Featuring rare live performances and interviews from the legendary Al Green, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Cicely Tyson, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, The Last Poets, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ashford & Simpson, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, Billy Preston, Black Ivory, The Delfonics, Bill Withers, Sonia Sanchez, Wilson Pickett, Odetta, Merry Clayton, Mandrill, Kool & the Gang, Toni Morrison, Kathleen Cleaver, Betty Shabazz, Stokely Carmichael, Mrs. Georgia Jackson, George Faison, Patti LaBelle,  Roberta Flack, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and many more,  SOUL! was the first national show to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. With participants’ recollections and a bevy of great rarely seen archival clips, Mr. SOUL!  captures that critical moment in our nation’s cultural rise, and whose impact continues to resonate across generations and cultures. 

Mr. SOUL! is directed, written and produced by Melissa Haizlip, featuring music composed and performed by Grammy® winning musician/composer Robert Glasper, with the voice of Ellis Haizlip by Grammy® / Emmy® winner Blair Underwood – one of the film’s Executive Producers. The virtual cinema release run is presented together by Shoes In The Bed Productions and Open Your Eyes & Think MF.

More information is available on the website:  www.mrsoulmovie.com. More events will be announced this week through the film’s website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages at @mrsoulthemovie and the hashtags #mrsoulthemovie, #ellishaizlip and #virtualrelease