The Roots frontman Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson revisits the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival – the ‘Black Woodstock’ – to reassert the cultural status of a gig that drew 300,000 people.
Time Out’s verdict: ‘Partly this is a killer concert film; a series of powerful gigs finally given their due. Thompson also deftly draws the story into the present via his interviewees, many of whom we see watching footage of the concerts, and their reactions – laughs, tears, wonder – raise the stakes for us too.’
The Sundance Film Festival is usually a mountaintop feast of indie cinema upon which critics and film studios descend – or rather, ascend – with keyboards and chequebooks out and a hope of discovering the next Reservoir Dogs or The Blair Witch Project. In this pandemic-hit year, of course, it’s a slightly different story. But while the fest has gone fully virtual, the slate of films on offer still represents a starting gun for 12 months of thrilling new movies: today’s Sundance breakouts are tomorrow’s Oscar hopefuls.
On the programme are some notable debuts, like Questlove’s concert doc Summer of Soul and Welsh filmmaker Prano Bailey-Bond’s VHS horror homage Censor, as well as some more familiar Sundance faces like Shaka King, who debuts his awards-tipped Black Panther thriller Judas and the Black Messiah. Here’s what has landed at this year’s festival – and what hasn’t.