A documentary on gospel singer and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples, has recently been acquired by HBO. The Jessica Edwards' documentary, Mavis!, on the "I'll Take You There" singer, was well received at its premiere at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in March.
According to Billboard, HBO has all television rights for Mavis! and Films We Like has acquired the rights for the documentary for Canada.
Mavis! will feature the life of Staples and her family group the Staple Singers. The documentary's site states that the film will feature: "...dynamic live performances, rarely-seen archival footage and conversations with friends and collaborators like Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy, Levon Helm, Chuck D, Al Bell, Julian Bond, Sharon Jones and more. Mavis! reveals the struggles and successes of her journey. Through a 60-year career crossing music genres and societal shifts, Mavis has managed to transform herself as she goes, yet never alter. She occupies a singular place in American music: a soldier of love and peace whose fight continues. At 75, she's making the most vital music of her career, and her message of equality is needed now more than ever."
The now 75-year-old artist sang at the documentary's world premiere in Austin at SXSW. In a statement captured by Billboard, the singer revealed that although she had been touring since 1954, the premiere of her film was her first film festival, period. "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," Staples said.
Brooklyn-based production company, Film First, produced the documentary. Staples is completing a tour in Australia and will perform in Brooklyn on April 28. Billboard reported that Staples will join Patty Griffin to tour in July.
Check out the Mavis! documentary trailer via Vimeo below: