Music doc Thunder Soul is a heartfelt celebration of Funk and the transformative powers of a great teacher. Mark Landsman’s doc, which won an audience award at SXSW and Los Angeles Film Fest, among other fests last year, also earned an Indie Spirit nomination. It’s about how in the 1970s one teacher turned Houston’s Kashmere High School jazz band into a tight-grooving funk award-winner, years in a row. (Think Glee on Funk steroids.) Landsman follows the alumni from Kashmere, who after 35 years, travel home to play a tribute concert for 92-year-old Conrad Johnson.
Now new exec producer Jamie Foxx is “presenting” Thunder Soul to help bring attention to the Roadside Attractions release (September). “I can’t wait to share Thunder Soul with the world so that everyone can enjoy this one of a kind experience,” says Foxx. “It’s such an entertaining and inspirational story that touches your soul and awakens the human spirit in the way that only love and the power of music can.”
Landsman raced to Houston to nail the film rights after pulling his car to the side of the road to hear an NPR story about how the legendary 70s Kashmere h.s. band was reforming to honor their teacher. Landsman googled “Conrad Johnson” and reached first the son, then the father. It was a good thing he hastened, because other filmmakers came right behind him. He was planning to research a fiction movie, but as he shot the unfolding story, it turned out so well that the documentary resulted.