Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

Mavis! 2015

Directed by Jessica Edwards

The life, music and passionate commitment of the irresistible Mavis Staples are lovingly chronicled in this spirited doco – with help from fans Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Chuck D, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Prince.

USA In English
80 minutes DCP



Jessica Edwards
Rachel Mills


Keith Walker


Amy Foote


Mavis Staples


Mavis Staples
Yvonne Staples
Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples
Cleotha Staples
Pervis Staples
Bob Dylan
Jeff Tweedy
Bonnie Raitt
Levon Helm
Chuck D


SXSW 2015

“Gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples shines in a film that’s rich with six decades of music and song. Lead singer of The Staple Singers – the acclaimed ‘first family of song’ founded by Mavis’s father Roebuck ‘Pops’ Staples – she fused gospel, soul, folk and rock to transcend racism and unite people through music. Special appearances by Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Chuck D and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, among others, testify to her profound influence on American music.

But it is Staples herself who is the shining star of Mavis! A consummate storyteller, she reveals intimate tales of her life onstage and off – from shout-outs on the Southern gospel circuit in the 50s, freedom songs inspired by Martin Luther King Jr in the 60s, to chart-busting hits in the 70s and 80s and her recent album One True Vine. The film glows with the power and spiritual grace of her unforgettable voice.” — Lynne Fernie, Hot Docs

“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. Director Jessica Edwards adroitly entwines archival material, newly filmed interviews and live performances to create a cinematic portrait quite capable of converting the uninitiated into acolytes, and elevating casual interest to flood-tide levels of respect and affection.” — Joe Leydon, Variety