Hot Docs 2015: Mavis!

Mavis The story of legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples is told in the biographical documentary Mavis!.  Mavis Staples began as the lead singer of the Staples Singers, founded in 1948 by her father Roebuck "Pops" Staples.  The band had success in the gospel community for about two decades, before they founds success in other genres, including folk, R&B, and rock.  Mavis eventually takes off as a solo performer and has been performing constantly for six decades. Mavis! is a typical music documentary, in how it shows the ups and downs of Mavis Staples’ long career.  Mavis started singing with her father and siblings as a child and received notice for her ability to sing in a very low voice.  The Staples singers were heavily inspired by the civil rights movement and wrote freedom songs in support, particularly the song “Why am I Treated so Bad?”. The group would later find a whole new audience in the 1970s, as they topped the R&B charts and made an appearance in The Last Waltz. Mavis! is pretty enjoyable biography, which features performance scenes throughout.  The film features appearances by a number of well known performers, including Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, the latter of whom is now Mavis’ main record producer, responsible for her 2013 album “One True Vine”.  The film also features an appearance by The Band’s Levon Helm, which was presumably filmed shortly before his death in 2012.  Altogether, Mavis! is a biography that is sure to please audiences. ★ ★ ★ ★ | LIKED IT Screenings:

  • Sun, Apr 26, 6:15 PM – Isabel Bader Theatre
  • Mon, Apr 27, 10:30 AM – Isabel Bader Theatre
  • Thu, Apr 30, 9:00 PM – Innis Town Hall Courtyard (Docs After Dusk)
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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).