Film Screening & Discussion | MR. SOUL!
MoAD presents a four-week film series in conjunction with Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, a photographic exhibition focussing on how the Black Pride movement manifested in fashion and in jazz & soul music. Dr. Tanisha C. Ford writes in the catalogue, “Jazz set the rhythm for all of Brathwaites’s work… he is a son of the modern Jazz age.” The Black Power & Jazz film series complements the exhibition with works on representative and still influential icons of the era — from the widely celebrated performer Abbey Lincoln to the community-based California Jazz musician Horace Tapscott — as well as touching on the era’s “L.A. Rebellion” independent film movement.
SOUL! was a groundbreaking public affairs and entertainment program on public TV hosted by the
Visionary Ellis Haizlip. It was a mixture of talk and performance with poets from the Black Arts
Movement such as Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez, activists like Stokely Carmichael and musical
artists such as LaBelle and Ashford and Simpson. It was on SOUL! that Maya Angelou first read an
excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to a national audience. Melissa Haizlip is founder of the Shoes in the Bed Productions focusing on independent productions of non-fiction works by filmmakers of color. The award-winning MR. SOUL! is her first feature length film. Filmmaker Melissa Haizlip will introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion.
MELISSA HAIZLIP is an award-winning filmmaker born in Boston and raised in the US Virgin Islands, New York and Connecticut, where she attended Yale. Melissa’s feature documentary, Mr. SOUL!, won the 2018 International Documentary Association Award for Best Music Documentary. An IFP Spotlight on Documentaries alum. Mr. SOUL! premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2018, followed by HOT DOCS, the British Film Institute, and AFI DOCS at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Oprah Winfrey Theatre, where it won the Audience Award for Best Feature. Mr. SOUL! screened at over 50 festivals, receiving 16 Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary, including the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, Urbanworld, the Pan African Film Festival, and the 2019 FOCAL Award for Best Use of Archival Footage in an Entertainment Production. The film was awarded as a finalist for the inaugural Library of Congress Lavine / Ken Burns Prize for Film, a new annual prize that recognizes a filmmaker whose documentary uses original research and compelling narrative to tell stories that touch on some aspect of American history.
Melissa’s two-channel art films have been funded and exhibited by the Hammer Museum’s Los Angeles Biennial, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Clifton Benevento Gallery, SoHo, NY. Mr. SOUL! screened at the Brooklyn Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Portland Art Museum. Melissa has received grants from the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, the National Endowment for the Humanities, IDA’s Pare Lorentz Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts, Black Public Media, Firelight Media, ITVS, and Awesome Without Borders. She has served on application review panels for the NEH. She recently directed and produced the film CONTACT HIGH: A VISUAL HISTORY OF HIP-HOP for the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, currently on exhibit at the International Center for Photography in New York City.
This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non- profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.