Seeking Mavis Beacon

Duration: 102m Director: Jazmin Jones

Launched in the late ’80s, educational software Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing taught millions globally, but the program’s Haitian-born cover model vanished decades ago. Two DIY investigators search for the unsung cultural icon, while questioning notions of digital security, AI, and Black representation in the digital realm.

Jazmin Renée Jones’ inventive directorial debut boldly embraces outspoken questioning. Jones turns the camera onto herself and co-investigator Olivia McKayla Ross, foregrounding their investigatory process and supportive friendship. While unraveling the complex narrative of Mavis Beacon, they uplift the pioneering of Black women in technology and self-reflect on their own methodologies in the process. Jones celebrates diverse ways of embodying knowledge by creatively connecting various sources of information. Observational footage of herself and Ross sit alongside interviews, memes, and insights from activists and artists. The meaning of each clip is made richer by Jones’ astute and witty layering, often incorporating the digital interface of a desktop. The dynamic investigation also reveals questions about documentary practice, the incompleteness of archives, and the right to exist on one’s own terms. Jones’ vision is vibrant, full of curiosity, and refreshingly openhearted.

—Stephanie Owens, Sundance Film Festival guide

Seeking Mavis Beacon Tickets