Sequoia 1 Sat, Oct 17, 2015 5:00 PM
Film Info
Section:Valley of the Docs
Mind the Gap
Focus: The Beat Goes On(screen)
Running Time:81 min
Director:Jessica Edwards
Producer:Rachel Mills
Cinematographer:Keith Walker
Editor:Amy Foote
Print Source:Film First
Note Writer:Laura Henneman


Mavis Staples gets you grinning and grooving from the very start of this joyful documentary. Between family band The Staples Singers and now her own group, Mavis has been on tour singing "I'll Take You There" and "Respect Yourself" for the better part of 60 years, and there are countless reasons why: her unmistakable voice; her radiant stage presence; her timeless message of peace, love, and freedom. Mavis recounts her story herself—with a little help from friends and contemporaries including Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy, and Chuck D—while filmmaker Jessica Edwards artfully lays down the backing tracks of Mavis’ personal history: gospel tours in the segregated South, singing freedom songs in the civil rights movement, commanding the stage of the Newport Folk Festival and at the Grammys. This soulful and eternally glamorous woman has inspired generations and still remains, as she says herself, “just everyday people.” Come on in, sit on down, and let Mavis move you.

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Additional Information

Jessica Edwards has a broad background in the film industry as a director, producer, and publicist. Her award-winning short documentary Seltzer Works premiered at SXSW and went on to screen at Hot Docs, Full Frame, Silverdocs and many other festivals around the world before airing on the PBS documentary series POV in 2010. Her subsequent film, Tugs, screened at SXSW, Full Frame, Silverdocs and BAMCinemafest in 2011. Her short film, The Landfill, which she co-directed with Gary Hustwit, premiered at Sundance in 2012. In 2013, Edwards edited and self-published Tell Me Something: Documentary Filmmakers, a book of advice from documentary filmmakers, featuring Al Maysles, DA Pennebaker, Martin Scorsese, Errol Morris, Michael Moore, Barbara Kopple, and over 50 more. Edwards has a BFA in Cinema from Concordia University in her native Canada and a Masters degree in Documentary Studies from The New School in New York.