Directors JOE BREWSTER, MICHÈLE STEPHENSON (US 2023) 102 min
Nikki Giovanni probably doesn’t come to mind when one thinks of Afrofuturism, but maybe she should. Directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson give us a visually poetic and emotionally profound look at the iconic poet’s cosmic perspective on the future, which reaches through the present to draw on history and center Black women. The winner of the 2023 Sundance US Grand Jury Prize for documentary, their film revisits Giovanni’s enduring career as a fiery poet and activist, as well as her rich (and at times terrifying) life, all of which forged the legendary cultural superstar she is today. Through observations, conversations, recitations, and memories, Giovanni reveals herself as a beautifully complex poet and a straight-no-chaser truth-teller. Her soft-spoken, baby-faced young self is no less strident than her somewhat more experienced incarnation, and her work remains a gleaming and resonant cultural treasure — much like the solid gold artifacts put on space missions to explain humanity to alien races.
IN PERSON: Directors JOE BREWSTER, MICHÈLE STEPHENSON
SATURDAY, MAY 13 • 2:30
MICHÈLE STEPHENSON is a platform-agnostic artist who pulls from her Haitian and Panamanian roots to create stories centering the lived experiences of the Black diaspora. She is a Guggenheim fellow and Creative Capital artist. Stephenson lives in Brooklyn with her creative and life partner, Joe Brewster.
JOE BREWSTER is a media-maker who believes in the healing power of stories. Brewster left his medical practice to create immersive, narrative, and documentary stories that provoke, challenge, and inspire. He is an Independent Spirit Award and four-time Emmy nominee, a jury prize winner at Tribeca and Sundance, and a Guggenheim fellow.
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