This is a heartfelt and politically engaged profile of Ellis Haizlip, the openly gay host of the ground breaking PBS all-black variety show SOUL!
Dir Melissa Haizlip, Samuel D Pollard
Prod-Scr Melissa Haizlip
Sales Submarine Entertainment
In the wake of the civil-rights movement, a TV show with a tendency to celebrate black artistry and black culture entered American households. Running from 1968 to 1973, SOUL! was both ahead of its time and – depending on the perspective of its viewer – finely attuned to it, giving centre stage to a wave of militant poets and intellectuals, dancers, soul musicians and African-American artists, including Sidney Poitier, Stevie Wonder and James Baldwin. The man behind it all was Ellis Haizlip, the gentle screen presence whose life and career are assembled here via excerpts from the show and present-day interviews. This fascinating and inspirational documentary is directed by Sam D Pollard and Ellis’ niece Melissa Haizlip, showing that talent can indeed run in the family. Mr. Soul! will have you dancing all the way home.