Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson made a splash at Sundance earlier this month with his feature directing debut “Summer of Soul (Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).” Now, the Roots drummer is trying his hand at another music documentary, as MRC Non-Fiction announced Friday that Questlove will direct a feature about the life of Sly Stone, founding member of Sly and the Family Stone.
Here’s what MRC had to say about the project: “The untitled documentary follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon Sly Stone, a musician who was breaking all the rules at a time when doing so was extremely challenging, even dangerous. The pressure of explosive mainstream pop success and the responsibility of representing Black America forced him to walk the fine line of impossible expectations.”
“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA….it’s a Black musician’s blueprint….to be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me,” Questlove said.
His Two One Five Entertainment and producing partners Zarah Zohlman and Shawn Gee are producing along with MRC Non-Fiction. Common, an Oscar winner for Best Song in 2015, will executive-produce via Stardust Films. Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone will executive-produce via ID8 Multimedia. Network Entertainment’s Derik Murray and Brian Gersh will serve as producers.
“Sly’s influence on popular music and culture as a whole is immeasurable, and what his career represents is a parable that transcends time and place,” said Amit Dey, head of MRC Non-Fiction. “Questlove’s vision, sensitivity and reverence brings the urgency that Sly’s story and music deserve, and we’re excited to be working with him to bring Sly’s story to life.
Questlove’s feature directing debut “Summer of Soul” won an Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. The film highlights the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a series of concerts that took place the same summer as Woodstock. The doc’s seamless blend of archival footage and interviews placing it into a cultural context that resonates today earned it raves; critics placed it as the best documentary at Sundance in IndieWire’s critics survey.
Searchlight acquired the movie earlier this month. It will get a theatrical release as well as a U.S. premiere on Hulu, and will stream internationally on Star and Star+
The Stone project comes after MRC Non-Fiction’s first feature documentary, Edgar Wright’s “The Sparks Brothers,” earned high praise after its Sundance premiere.