At 18, Abbie Evans possesses a fearless attitude–one that originated from a life of rock and roll. As the daughter of Texas musician John Evans, she was raised on honky tonk music and life on the road. Full of confidence, she insisted that she go on the road with her father’s band at age 15 and eventually came into her own as the band’s sweet and sassy merch girl. The music helped Evans create her identity, but the rigorous life of a musician taught her how to overcome obstacles in life.
Evans was born with a rare and incurable genetic disease, Epidermolysis Bullosa. She was only given weeks to live but defied those odds. She’s grown up spending just as much time in hospitals as she has honky tonk bars, but living with the skin disease is just another hurdle for Evans to cross if she wants to discover her true desires in life.
Produced by Cary Bell, Jessica Miller and Susan Grossman, Merch Girl is a coming of age documentary that focuses on Evans’ life on the road while grappling with Epidermolysis Bullosa. She believes she’s capable of living a normal life, but complications from her illness make that reality a struggle. The film documents her passion for life, the strength and identity she finds from touring with her father’s band and the constant care she receives from her mother, Stacie Boylard.
Bell also directs the documentary and says that it would be easy to feel sorry for yourself when you have a disease or try and curb your natural desire to be a normal teenager, but Evans moves forward with life in a manner that is extremely inspiring. Bell went on to say that an audience can look at this story as a metaphor for their own struggles, whatever they might be.
For every film, there’s a soundtrack that helps tell the story. Music plays a huge role in this film. The documentary includes studio tracks and live recordings from Abbie’s father’s band, John Evans Band, his colleague and girlfriend, Emily Bell, and his best friend, Hayes Carll.
The producers say, “Merch Girl is a personal case study infused with music. The lyrics of John Evans’ songs lend to the narrative, weaving together stories of Abbie’s past with the uncertainties of her future.”
Over the weekend, the filmmakers will host a private preview cut and social gathering for supporters who pledged a certain amount to their Kickstarter project. After the screening, guests will be treated to a private concert featuring Evans, Bell and Carll. This is just one of the many rewards they’re offering supporters. If you’d like to learn more about Merch Girl and how you can help fund this project, please visit the film crew’s Kickstarter page.
At this time, a release date has not been set for the film. So far, the filmmakers have received incredible and positive responses and requests for more filming to be done. Bell says they will not be premiering this year like they originally thought because now they need to keep filming. They’re excited to keep documenting Evans’ life and want to give the audience as much of her story as possible.