HBO has taken US television rights, with Films We Like nabbing all rights for Canada. The feature debut of Jessica Edwards, ‘Mavis!’ premiered at SXSW, where it was followed by a standing ovation and an intimate performance by Staples, who began her family career in the early 1950s before going solo with Epic, at the Paramount Theater.
“Gospel music great, rhythm-and-blues icon, civil rights activist and all-around living legend Mavis Staples is celebrated with the infectiously joyful enthusiasm of a passionately devoted fan in ‘Mavis!,’ a spirited and captivating bio-doc that richly deserves the exclamation point in its title,” wrote Variety.
From hits like “I’ll Take You There” to funkier collaborations with Prince and recent pairings with Jeff Tweey of Wilco, “Mavis!” reveals the many hills and valleys of her journey to stardom, with live performances and rarely-seen archival footage and conversations with musical legends Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Levon Helm, Chuck D and more.
Staples said she “cried all my mascara off” at the film’s SXSW premiere. It will screen at the upcoming Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Hot Docs, and the Montclair Film Festival, which will include a post-screening conversation with Stephen Colbert and Mavis Staples. The film will screen at more festivals worldwide through the summer. No release date has been set. It’s produced by Film First.
HBO’s other music doc, “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” airs this Spring.