SXSW Q&A Highlights: Mavis Staples performs and talks about seeing her documentary Mavis! for the first time.


This morning at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, a packed out Paramount Theatre enjoyed the World Premiere of the new music documentary Mavis!, telling the story of the legendary Mavis Staples. Making her feature length documentary debut with the film was Director Jessica Edwards, who joined Mavis and other members of the crew and Production team on stage for a Q&A following the powerful film, which received a standing ovation from the crowd. Mavis was then kind enough to perform two songs for the crowd, accompanied by Rick Holmstrom on the guitar. They were “You Are Not Alone” off the album of the same name, produced by Jeff Tweedy, and the powerful “Eyes on the Prize”.


During the Q&A, Mavis let the crowd know that she was watching it for the first time with us, and like us was wiping away tears by the end – happy tears though, as she told the crowd, “I just feel happy… I feel good! In the words of James Brown *I Feel Good* (sings). I’m a bit weak in the knees, I saw stuff I wasn’t expected, and it just broke me down. And if someone was going to break me down, leave it to (Director) Miss Jessica! But I feel so happy, and I’m so grateful that Jessica and Gary (Hustwit, Executive Producer) thought enough of me to let me story be known.”

Mavis was asked what it was like seeing her father, Pops Staples, on the screen, “Tears are still flowing… and Pops looked so good didn’t he? To see Pops was… just being with my Father again, and you have so much stuff in that movie that brought so much back to me- I could visualize what happened after it wasn’t on the screen anymore. I’m just lost for words really. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate… that my life will be documented now. And it will go on and on *cue applause*…”

Mavis! enjoyed its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival today. The film will screen again on March 19th. For more details head to: Stay tuned for more from the Q&A as well as an exclusive interview with the director Jessica Edwards.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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