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FWL acquires MAVIS! documentary on gospel & soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples


FWL acquires MAVIS! documentary on gospel & soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples

Toronto-based distribution company Films We Like announces distribution deals for the feature documentary MAVIS! about the life of music legend Mavis Staples, directed by Jessica Edwards. Films We Like has acquired all rights for Canada. The film had its world premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival where it received a standing ovation. The Q&A was followed by an intimate performance with Mavis Staples at the Paramount Theater. 

MAVIS! is the first documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, The Staple Singers. Beginning in the gospel church, Mavis’ music spans from the freedom songs of the ‘60s and hits like “I’ll Take You There" to funked-up collaborations with Prince and her recent albums with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Over the course of her unrivaled career, Mavis has stayed true to her roots, kept her family close and reinvented herself as a solo artist at the age of 65. With dynamic live performances, rarely-seen archival footage and conversations with musical legends Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Levon Helm, Chuck D and more, MAVIS! reveals the struggles and successes of her journey. At 75, Mavis is making the most vital music of her career and her message of love and equality is needed now more than ever. 

Said Edwards, “We are beyond thrilled to have HBO as our broadcast partner. They’ve always been such a huge supporter of documentary films. We can’t wait to share the inspiration and joy of Mavis's music and story with HBO viewers, and with audiences across Canada through Films We Like.”

Said Staples, “I've been touring since 1954, and I've been to all kinds of festivals, but I don't think I was at a film festival until my movie screened in Austin. That was something else – to sit in the audience and see on that big screen the results of me and Jessica talking, all the old pictures and family performances, to hear these music giants say such nice things about me. I cried all my mascara off. To think that this story about my family and our music will be in theaters and on TV after all this time is just awesome. And being on HBO – that is a thrill. I'm catching up to my guy John Oliver! I am so grateful, knowing all these young people – whole new generations – they want to hear my songs and my family's story and what I have to say… I’m really blessed.”

The deals were negotiated by Josh Braun and David Koh of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

Mavis! will screen at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto on Sunday April 26 at 6:15pm and Monday April 27 at 10:30am at the Isabel Bader Theatre .

The film will be coming to Canadian theatres in the near future.

For interview and screeners requests, contact: Lindsay Jensen



About Film First
Film First is a Brooklyn-based production company specializing in documentary and commercial projects. Founded in 2009 as a boutique film publicity firm, the company worked with directors such as Ang Lee, Gus Van Sant, Sofia Coppola, David Cronenberg, the Coen Brothers, and many others before transitioning to film production in 2011. The company’s documentary work includes the POV short SELTZER WORKS and THE LANDFILL, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

About Mavis Staples
Soul/gospel legend Mavis Staples will release a new four-song EP Your Good Fortune (ANTI-) on April 21st, and in July 2015 she will tour the US, co-headlining 12 dates with Patty Griffin.  Her 2010 Album You Are Not Alone (ANTI-) won the Best Americana Album Grammy.   Mavis is a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, National Heritage Fellowship award winner, was named to Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers, and has a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

About Films We Like
Founded by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ron Mann (Grass, Comic Book Confidential, Altman) Films We Like is a boutique distributor of documentary, independent and international films in Canada. Recent releases include Force Majeure, Finding Vivian Maier, and the Academy Award-winner Ida.