Docs

Questlove to make directorial debut with “Black Woodstock” doc

American musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is set to direct Black Woodstock, a feature documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, with producers Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein. Thompson’s directorial debut tells the ...
December 2, 2019

American musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is set to direct Black Woodstock, a feature documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, with producers Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein.

Thompson’s directorial debut tells the “untold story” of the outdoor festival in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park.

The event, held over six weekends during the same summer as the famed Woodstock festival, featured dozens of performances by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone and B.B. King. It was created to “celebrate African American music, culture and politics, and to promote black pride and unity.”

Harlem Cultural Festival, which became known as “Black Woodstock” by residents, drew more than 300,000 people but received “virtually no coverage from mainstream media.”

Late television producer Hal Tulchin’s footage of the festival, which has remained in storage for the past 50 years, will be included in the documentary.

“The performances are extraordinary. I was stunned when I saw the lost footage for the first time. It’s incredible to look at 50 years of history that’s never been told, and I’m eager and humbled to tell that story,” Thompson said in a statement.

Fyvolent and Dinertstein have tapped RadicalMedia as creative and production partners, with Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serving as executive producers for the New York-based prodco.

The film is co-produced by Vulcan Productions, Concordia Studio and Play/Action Pictures. Beth Hubbard will also serve as executive producer; Joseph Patel will serve as a producer with Joshua Pearson.

“The music and performances in Black Woodstock will knock audiences out of their seats,” Dinerstein and Fyvolent jointly added. “The footage is unusually rich in texture and feel.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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