Mr. Soul!, the next film in the Films by Firelight series, is set to premiere at the famed Apollo Theater (253 W 125th St) on Thursday, February 21 at 6:30 PM. In collaboration with the Apollo Theater Education Program’s Live Wire series, and the Apollo and Afropunk’s Race Music presentation, Firelight Media presents a free screening of the documentary followed by a Q&A with director Melissa Haizlip and special guests. The Apollo Theater celebrates its 85th anniversary this year.

Mr. Soul! captures the vibrant culture of the Black Arts Movement as shown and celebrated by the public-television variety show SOUL!, which ran from 1968 to 1973. The documentary focuses on the show’s producer and host, Ellis Haizlip, who developed a groundbreaking PBS series that was among the first 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. Using participants’ recollections and a bevy of archival clips, the film digs deep into a critical moment in culture -- one whose resonance continues to this day.

This documentary is the fifth film to premiere as part of the Films by Firelight series. The series brings an impressive array of films to the Harlem community, from projects by Firelight’s Documentary Lab Fellows to acclaimed documentarian Stanley Nelson’s newest work and classic films. Screenings are followed by lively and frank discussions with the filmmakers, subjects, stakeholders and artists. The series is programmed by Jessica Green.

Upcoming documentaries in the film series, National Bird and Warrior Women, will be screened at the Maysles Cinema (343 Lenox Ave). National Bird will premiere on Wednesday, January 30 at 7:30 PM, co-presented by Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against The War, and Warrior Women will be shown on Sunday, March 10 at 3 PM. Both screenings will be followed by Q&As with the directors, including activists Madonna Thunder Hawk and Marcy Gilbert following Warrior Women. The discussion following National Bird will include Ashton DeFusco, United States Marine Corps conscientious objector, and journalist Madiha Tahir. Both programs are free. See RSVP link here.

WHO: Melissa Haizlip, Director and Producer, Carmen de Lavallade, Legendary dancer/choreographer, Sade Lythcott, CEO, National Black Theater, Russell Patterson, Stuart Bascombe and Leroy Burgess, members of Black Ivory, classic soul / R&B vocal trio founded in Harlem. Moderated by: Jocelyn Cooper, President and CEO, Afropunk

WHAT: Free screening of Mr. Soul, Q&A with director Melissa Haizlip to follow

WHERE: Apollo Theater, 253 W 125th St, New York, NY

WHEN: 6:30 PM on Thursday, February 21, 2019, followed by a Q&A at 8:30 PM

About Firelight

Firelight Media was born in 2000 to address the deficit of films made by and about diverse communities, particularly people of color. Founded and led by MacArthur “genius” Fellow Stanley Nelson and award-winning writer and philanthropy executive Marcia Smith in Harlem, NY, the organization has gone on to produce over 25 hours of primetime programming for public television, receive every major broadcast award, and have its first theatrical release (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution).

Angela McCrae