The 2013 Chaz and Roger Ebert Fellowship, which is awarded to a filmmaker in Project Involve, Film Independent’s diversity mentorship program and includes a cash grant of $10,000, was given to Haizlip, director of the documentary Mr. SOUL!. Haizlip is a Film Independent Fellow participating in Project Involve 2012-2013. Her film, which is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, was screened at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 41st Annual Independent Film Series in 2011.
The film explores the groundbreaking PBS television series SOUL!, while profiling its noted producer and host, Ellis Haizlip. In 1968, on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, SOUL! was the first nationally telecast all-black variety/ entertainment show to be produced and hosted by an African American, who also happened to be gay. At a time of deep racial turmoil, Haizlip gave radical voice to the struggles and successes of the black experience
DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere from AFFRM in partnership with Participant Media won the John Cassavetes Award for Best Independent film made under $500,000.