Oscar-Nominated ‘Summer of Soul’ Doc to Make Broadcast Debut on ABC

The directorial debut from Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will air Feb. 20

Two One Five Entertainment's Summer of Soul
"Summer of Soul" / Searchlight Pictures

“Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” is making its broadcast TV debut. The Oscar-nominated documentary will air Feb. 20 on ABC, the network said Thursday.

Acclaimed musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson made his directorial debut with the film, which tells the story of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival at Mount Morris Park — just 100 miles south of Woodstock.

The festival featured a knockout lineup of R&B acts who turned several days of music and community into a celebration of joy and a call for Black visibility. “Summer of Soul” compiles long-unseen footage and vivid interviews with attendees and participants to transport viewers back to the event.

For the film, Questlove combed through 40 hours of footage of never-before-seen performances from Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone, B.B. King, the Staple Singers, the 5th Dimension, David Ruffin, Mahalia Jackson and Gladys Knight and the Pips.

“Summer of Soul” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.

The documentary has also garnered a host of other awards, including six Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards. In addition to its Academy Award nod, it has secured nominations from the 75th BAFTA Awards, DGA, PGA, the Grammys and more.

Searchlight Pictures and Hulu acquired the film last year. “Summer of Soul” is part of Disney’s newly formed Onyx Collective, which aims to curate projects by creators of color and other underrepresented voices.

“Summer of Soul” will air Sunday, Feb, 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. It is currently streaming on Hulu and Disney+.