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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Miss Sharon Jones!

by director Barbara Kopple

How many times in your life are you able to meet someone as exceptional and as passionate as Sharon Jones? From the moment I was approached to tell her story, I said yes. To me, Sharon exemplifies all that it means to be a performer—dedication, talent, energy, resilience and perseverance. She is so uniquely and completely herself, and from day one, Sharon let us in.

I hadn’t met Sharon until I was approached to make this film about her. I had heard the Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings song “100 Days, 100 Nights” on the radio years ago, but knew nothing about the band behind it. What I would come to discover was a world-class band with a larger-than-life front-woman. They have played together for 20 years now and the bond that they share is incredible. Watching their family dinners, their inside-jokes and their time before and after gigs makes you believe in the power of music and of family to heal when times are at their worst. Sharon and the band are personal, passionate and incredibly soulful.

Sharon cares so much about her craft. She gives everything she has on that stage each and every night. We were able to get ahold of footage from many years ago of Sharon playing a New Year’s Eve show only hours of finding out about her brother's tragic death. Her strength and energy are unmatched.

At times during filming, it was a challenge to find her in low spirits. Of course cancer takes a toll on those who experience it both physically and mentally, but she has the ability to make people around her laugh and feel good even when she's in the worst of times. She taught me to take the high road when you're feeling down instead of sinking into depression.

I fell in love with Sharon, not just because she allowed me into her life at one of her most difficult times, but also because her music has moved so many people to dance, enjoy life and take pride in who they are. I couldn’t think of a better person to spend time with. Miss Sharon Jones is not just my hero, but the hero of people who pursue their dreams despite all hurdles and don’t just walk around them—but jump.

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