When Ellis Haizlip, a producer of black theater, was asked to help create a “black Tonight Show” in the late 1960s, he nixed the idea in favor of something more original.
Haizlip chose the word “soul” for the title, his white co-producer added the exclamation point, and “Soul!” quickly became must viewing for many black Americans who rarely saw themselves reflected on the small screen.
Combining clips from the show with new interviews, directors Melissa Haizlip (Ellis’ niece) and Samuel D. Pollard capture how exciting “Soul!” was — not just for viewers but for the artists and other cultural figures who appeared on the national showcase.
For five years during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history — the days of assassinations and protests rendered here through a fresh selection of archival images — Haizlip, a soft-spoken intellectual, brought his vision of “black love and black strength and black encouragement” to public television from the studios of New York PBS station WNET.
“A Head Full of Dreams,” announced Friday, is being billed as an in-depth and intimate portrait of the band’s rise from starting 20 years ago in the pubs of London to selling out stadiums worldwide.
The film will be available to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Nov. 16. Prior to its release on Amazon, Trafalgar Releasing will be giving the film a special one-night showing on Nov. 14 in 2,000 theaters around the world.
“A Head Full of Dreams,” is directed by Mat Whitecross — helmer of the acclaimed 2016 documentary “Supersonic” — who met the four members of Coldplay at college in London before they’d even formed the band.
From the very first rehearsal in a cramped student bedroom, Whitecross has been there to capture the band’s music and relationships on tape.
With the release of “Bad Reputation,” Joan Jett has taken a moment to look back on her own life.
She’s already an icon, but the documentary, spanning the beginning of her career in the 1970s all-girl band The Runaways to her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, makes something else clear: she’s a fighter. She’s gone to the mat for the rights of women in music, for her own right to make and live by her rules, and for control over her career.
“Really that’s all The Runaways were doing; trying to express ourselves the way we knew how, putting it into our songs,” Jett told Refinery29, putting the raison d’être of her groundbreaking girl band into words. “Not much different than what the Rolling Stones were doing. We didn’t want barriers put up on what we were allowed to sing about, say, or play.
Refinery29 spoke to Jett about “Bad Reputation’s” release, and the “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” singer talks about the strangeness of watching your life be turned into a documentary, about enduring criticism from second-wave feminists, and why she’s always faced her fears when people told her she couldn’t do something — and did it anyway.
Who shot Bob Marley? After 42 years, the reggae superstar’s attempted assassination remains one of music’s biggest unsolved mysteries.
In a new trailer for Netflix series, “ReMastered,” an investigative team hints at possible answers.
“ReMastered” will dive into eight music mysteries beginning October 12th with one episode coming to the streaming service each month through May 2019.
First up is “Who Shot the Sheriff?,” a close look at the brazen December 1976 attempt on Marley’s life.
The attack, which took place at Marley’s Kingston mansion just days before he was scheduled to perform at a high-profile concert for peace, has inspired much writing over the years including novelist Marlon James’ Man Booker Prize-winning 2015 work “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”
Moufida Tlatli? Kinuyo Tanaka? Yuliya Solntseva? If those names aren’t familiar to you, Mark Cousins’ epic, “Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema” is here to fill in some blanks about those all-but-forgotten directors and dozens more.
The documentary sets itself up as a course in film basics in which all the examples are drawn from work by women. The approach succeeds well enough, even if it feels a bit stunt-like.
The film’s real value is calling attention to so many underappreciated directors. And its international focus — with movies from China, India, Iran, and beyond — suggests how myopic our Western view of film canon has become.
Narrated by Tilda Swinton in a near whisper, this four-hour installment is the first with another 12 hours to come.
Cousins, the prolific documentarian and film historian (“Eyes of Orson Welles”) takes his educational role seriously.
“Women Make Film” is broken into topic-oriented chapters, many as lucid as “Openings,” “Tracking” and “Framing,” and some as loosey-goosey as “Believability” (as if that’s an objective standard that can be nailed down).
Yayoi Kusama, 89, is the most successful living female artist. Her pieces have fetched up to $7 million and, at any given time, she has handfuls of exhibitions on view at museums and galleries across the world. (Right now: Indonesia, New York, Cleveland and Los Angeles).
Her immense popularity — driven in part thanks to the selfie craze, which has led museum patrons to wait in hours-long lines just for pics inside her Infinity Mirror Rooms exhibitions — came as a shock to documentarian Heather Lenz, who had been following Kusama’s life and career rather closely since 2001 when she started working on a documentary about the artist.
Kusama, who has long battled mental illness and once attempted suicide by leaping from her New York City apartment, continues to live in her native Japan in a psychiatric hospital that is within walking distance of her studio.
Lenz reported that Kusama is aware of the current craze that surrounds her work — and selfies. “Smart phones weren’t around when I started making this film,” Lenz said with a smile.