It is not summer, you may have noticed, but "Summer of Soul" still hits at an ideal time.

The music documentary opens the 40th annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, which runs Thursday-May 23. "Soul" is available in virtual showings Thursday-Saturday and at an in-person, outdoor screening at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Como Lakeside Pavilion in St. Paul.

It could get chilly after the sun goes down but "Summer of Soul" is virtually guaranteed to warm audiences. Winner of the jury and audience prizes at January's Sundance Film Festival, "Soul" takes us to the Harlem Cultural Festival from the same summer as Woodstock, 1969. The vibrant footage was intended for use in a documentary but languished until hip-hop maestro Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson assembled this jubilant work, which will hit theaters in July.

The bulk of the film is music from legends such as Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips and the Fifth Dimension. But Questlove also makes sure to interrogate something that's liable to pop into viewers' heads: This thing was huge. Why have we not heard of it?

Tickets to stream "Soul" are $15-$20. To attend the MSPIFF opening event at Como, they're $90-$225. Visit for details. Look for much more information about the festival in Friday's paper.

Chris Hewitt • 612-673-4367