Seeking Mavis Beacon 2024

Directed by Jazmin Renée Jones Frames

The first thing you should know is that Mavis Beacon doesn’t exist. This bright and fresh Generation Z-skewing documentary takes the viewer on a whirlwind cyber-journey to the ’90s and back.

Aug 14

Hollywood Avondale

USA In English
102 minutes Colour / DCP
documentary film exempt from NZ Classification labelling requirements

Director, Screenplay


Guetty Felin


Yeelen Cohen


Jon Fine, Jazmin Renée Jones, Yeelen Cohen


Jazmin Renée Jones, Olivia McKayla Ross


Sundance, San Francisco, Hot Docs 2024


Bay Area Documentary Award, San Francisco International Film Festival 2024


Director Jazmin Jones and collaborator Olivia McKayla Ross knew that the Black model from the popular American educational computer programme Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing was never a real person when they began their “Seeking Mavis Beacon” project.  

Finding Mavis Beacon – whoever she may be – was never the point of this film, Seeking Mavis Beacon is instead a pursuit of answers to existential questions surrounding the subject of Identity. What does it mean to be young and Black in America? Why would a hugely successful, white male-led computer programme employ a Black female model to be the face of their product? Was the model compensated appropriately when the programmers racked in millions? What did Mavis’s face signify to those who grew up learning to type with her? 

Seeking Mavis Beacon is as much about Jones’ search for themselves, as it is about the influence of Mavis Beacon on a generation. When the search proves more elusive than anticipated, the filmmakers take it upon themselves to seek answers from higher powers – turning to tarot card readings and even performing séances.  

The filmmaking irreverently lends itself to a new generation of cinema. It’s clear who the film was made by, and for. Many cutscenes include a flurry of images popping up as windows on a computer screen – akin to neurodivergent-friendly modern videos popular on TikTok and Instagram where an explainer video is stacked on top of a screen recording of a mobile phone game. Seeking Mavis Beacon throws the viewer headfirst into a cacophony of colour, sound, and stimulation. It’s near impossible to look away from; if you do, the film will pass you by in a millisecond. — Huia Haupapa