Legendary documentarian Barbara Kopple returns to the Sarasota Film Festival this year with another film tackling an important topic by following a big personality. Miss Sharon Jones! offers a glimpse at the life of soul singer Sharon Jones, who fought naysayers who cast shade on what would be an enormously successful career. Now, Jones fights an even bigger enemy—pancreatic cancer.
“She has such a sense of perseverance and is such a beautiful human being,” Kopple says of Jones. “How could Sharon Jones not be a project?”
The film comes just a couple years after Kopple won a top festival honor for Running From Crazy, a film that followed actress Muriel Hemingway as she looked back at seven suicides in her family. Like Hemingway, Jones was a willing documentary subject focused on big issues and was unafraid to share that story while a documentarian captured the story on film. “These women are also dealing with issues so much more important than a camera being there,” Kopple says.
Filming largely in a cinema verite style, Kopple said her role as a filmmaker in this story ended up being just to show love and support to Jones. “Just because of her music, Sharon Jones needs to be a household name,” Kopple says. “But with her position attitude, this woman si now my new role model.”
Miss Sharon Jones! screens Wednesday at 6:45pm and Sunday at 12:30pm at the Regal Hollywood 20.