Please Note Change of Venue to: 

 Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center
36 East 8th Street, New York, NY 

(Theater opens for seating 15 minutes prior to start time)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A film about Ellis Haizlip and the Birth of Black Power TV


Melissa Haizlip  (Producer/Director)
Samuel D. Pollard (Director)
Blair McClendon (Editor)
Anna Maria Horsford (Actress, Activist, Mentee of Ellis Haizlip)
Felipe Luciano (Community Activist and Founder of the Young Lords Party)
Gayle Wald (Author of  It's Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television)

Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center
36 East 8th Street, New York, NY 

(Please note theater opens for seating 15 minutes prior to start time)

Please RSVP:  or (212) 998-IAAA(4222)
Please make sure to state the event name and date in your email.

Right on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, one fearless Black pioneer reconceived a Harlem Renaissance for a new era, ushering giants and rising stars of Black American culture onto the national television stage.
He was hip.
He was smart.
He was innovative,
political and gay.
In his personal fight for social equality, this man ensured the Revolution would be televised.

The man was Ellis Haizlip. The Revolution was SOUL! Haizlip was the host and executive producer of SOUL!, the first “Black Tonight Show.” In 1968, SOUL! was launched as a local, New York broadcast. In 1969 the series rolled out nationwide on PBS, on WNET Channel 13. By 1973, Haizlip had produced over 130 hour-long shows featuring a dazzling array of A-list guests: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin, Stevie Wonder, Maya Angelou, Ashford and Simpson, Nikki Giovanni, Al Green and Muhammad Ali -- even a sixteen-year-old Arsenio Hall doing magic tricks. Mr. SOUL! (2018, 1:55 min) invites us behind-the-scenes of this groundbreaking phenomenon, from its initial conception to its final broadcast, including the very public battle to keep it on the air despite a shifting political landscape.

Mr. SOUL! starts a new dialogue about this critical moment in American broadcast history while offering a nuanced and fascinating portrait of the soul behind SOUL!

Melissa Haizlip (Producer/Director) is an award-winning filmmaker born in Boston and raised in the US Virgin Islands, Connecticut and New York. Melissa is the 2016 Artist in Residence at the National Black Programming Consortium, and participated in the 2015 NALIP ARC Diverse Women In Media Residency. She is a Chaz and Roger Ebert Producing Fellow, and an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project: Involve, Firelight Media Documentary Lab, and the PGA Diversity Workshop. Melissa attended Yale University. She produced YOU’RE DEAD TO ME (2013) directed by Wu Tsang. In 2009, Melissa founded Shoes In The Bed Productions, an independent film production company producing cinematic works of non-fiction with an emphasis on diverse new voices and filmmakers of color. The company’s first feature-length documentary, Mr. SOUL! screened a work-in-progress at IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries during Independent Film Week, and at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. Melissa received a 2016 JustFilms Grant from the Ford Foundation, the 2015 Media Projects Production Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the 2015 Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund Grant from the International Documentary Association for Mr. SOUL! She has also received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ITVS, National Black Programming Consortium, Firelight Media, Awesome Without Borders, support from IFP and Latino Public Broadcasting. She is currently in production on the sci-fi feature A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BLISS directed by Wu Tsang.

Samuel D. Pollard has collaborated extensively with many filmmakers, bringing programming that illuminates the Black experience in America to both television and theatrical audiences for over twenty-five years.

He recently directed the documentaries Mr. SOUL! about Ellis Haizlip and the birth of Black Power TV and August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand for American Masters, and edited Frank Sinatra: All Or Nothing At All for HBO. Pollard produced and directed Slavery By Another Name (Sundance 2012, PBS) and edited Joe Papp In Five Acts (Tribeca 2012). He edited the Spike Lee documentaries When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts, If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don’t Rise, and Four Little Girls (HBO); Inside Man, Clockers, Jungle Fever, and Mo’ Better Blues. He edited By The People: The Election Of Barack Obama and Chisholm ’72: Unbought And Unbossed. For PBS, he produced a segment of “The Blues” series directed by Martin Scorsese, “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,” and “Eyes On The Prize: The Civil Rights Years.” Pollard is a Professor in Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Blair McClendon (Editor) is an artist and editor who is from San Diego, currently living in Brooklyn. His most recent work, AMERICA FOR AMERICANS, is a found footage essay film on black joy and besiegement. The film won a Jury Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Blair edited the documentaries Mr. SOUL! and WHOSE STREETS, and the narrative short LAPS, which won the Special Jury Award for editing at Sundance 2017. His work as an editor has screened at Sundance, SXSW, DOC NYC, AFI DOCS, Tribeca, LA Film Festival, the British Film Institute and Cannes. He teaches editing in the Graduate Film program of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.


Anna Maria Horsford has provided an infinite amount to society and her community through her service, her diverse capabilities, and her talent. An Emmy-Nominated actress and member of the Director’s Guild of America, Horsford is best known for her roles as Thelma Frye on the NBC sitcom Amen, Dee Baxter on the WB sitcom The Wayans Bros. and as Vivienne Avant in the CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Prior to coming to Hollywood, Horsford had a solid list of accomplishments on and off Broadway in performances including For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Various guest spots include some of TV’s highest rated programs such as Grey’s Anatomy, Entourage, Cold Case, Everybody Hates Chris, and others. Movies include roles in the Friday series with Chris Tucker, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, Our Family Wedding, Gridiron Gang, Minority Report, Along Came A Spider, Kiss the Girls, Set It Off, St. Elmo’s Fire and others. Horsford has taught drama therapy at the College of New Rochelle, N.Y. She conducted an acting workshop for the City Volunteer Corp in Upstate, New York. In addition, Horsford assisted her mentor, Ellis Haizlip, at a creative writing workshop at Rikers Island through Hospital Audiences, Inc. and also hosted stand-up comedy festivals at several New Jersey prisons. Horsford has been honored for many awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Department of Black Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Salute to Women in Leadership 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Felipe Luciano is one of the most dynamic Latino public figures in the United States. His eloquence, vision, passion and activism around issues of social justice are extraordinary.

Winner of two Emmy awards for best reporting in New York City, this former WNBC-TV news anchor defied adversity early in life. Luciano was born in New York City and raised in poverty in East Harlem and Brooklyn by a single Puerto Rican mother.  He got involved in gangs at the age of 13 and by the age of sixteen was sent to prison for attempted manslaughter.

Upon his release, Felipe entered Queens college and immediately became a member of the Last Poets and co-founder/chairman of the Young Lords Party.

Luciano recently earned a Master’s degree from Union Theological Seminary.  His life has revolved around raising his three children, TV reporting, radio talk/music shows, lecturing and writing. He has just finished writing his memoir “Flesh and Spirit: The Warrior Path, Confessions of a Young Lord.

Gayle Wald is Professor of American Studies and English at George Washington University, where she also is Chair of American Studies. She is author of three books, including It's Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television (Duke UP, 2015) and Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Beacon, 2007). She got interested in Ellis Haizlip and Soul! after researching Soul at the Center, the summer 1972 black arts festival produced by Haizlip for Lincoln Center, at which Rosetta Tharpe gave her last major public appearance. Haizlip's comments about "vibrations" as a technology of black memory and survival made a deep impression. Wald is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her book on Tharpe has been the basis for a documentary film (Godmother of Rock, dir. Mick Csaky) and a musical (Shout, Sister, Shout!, prod. Randy Johnson).


Co-sponsored by Tisch School of the Arts Department of Photography & Imaging, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and For Freedoms 50 State Initiative.