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Jessica Edwards launched Film First in 2010 to produce documentary shorts and feature-length work. She uses her broad background in the film industry as a director, producer and publicist to create and support non-fiction storytelling. As an independent film publicist for over 10 years, Edwards worked with filmmakers like Sofia Coppola, David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, Gus Van Sant, David Cronenberg and many others. 

Her award-winning debut short Seltzer Works premiered at SxSW and was broadcast on the PBS series POV in 2010. Her other documentary shorts, including Tugs (2011), The Landfill (2012) and Slowerblack (2017), have screened at film festivals around the world including Sundance, SxSW, Hot Docs, Full Frame, IDFA and dozens of others. Jessica was named one of "10 Documakers To Watch" by Variety.

Edwards' debut feature-length documentary, Mavis!, about soul music legend Mavis Staples and her family group The Staple Singers, premiered on HBO in 2016 and was released in over a dozen countries worldwide. She was awarded a Peabody for distinguished achievement in documentary filmmaking in 2017.

Edwards has also been active in new media through Film First’s VR content studio Scenic, where she has collaborated with outlets like the Wall Street Journal on 360 video documentaries for Samsung Gear, Google Daydream and other VR platforms.

Edwards holds a MA in Media Studies from The New School in New York City and a BA in Cinema Studies from Montréal's Concordia University in her native Canada. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


2018 - Design Canada (Producer)
2017 - Slowerblack (Director, Producer)
2017 - The Fastest Ride (VR, Director)
2015 - Mavis! (Director)
2012 - The Landfill (Co-director)
2011 - Tugs (Director, Producer)
2010 - Seltzer Works (Director, Producer)