37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL Oct 30-Nov 3, 2024

37th Annual VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL October 30-November 3, 2024

Gala Screening

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project

Going to Mars_image_FINAL Play Button

US Grand Jury Prize, Documentary | Sundance Film Festival

One of America’s greatest living poets, Nikki Giovanni asserts, “The trip to Mars can only be understood through Black Americans.” This statement serves as the foundation for exploring the life and impact of a towering artist who has reflected and shaped the course of American cultural history since the 1960s.

Employing a dazzling array of visual accompaniments to her poetry, a treasure trove of archival footage, and Giovanni’s own commentary, directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson depict the story of an icon and her works of resistance. Threading together excerpts of an epic conversation with James Baldwin, public appearances at book readings and music festivals, outspoken acts of activism, and quieter moments of family life, the documentary courses with a jubilant spirit. The aim here is not that of a biographical account, but rather a vessel to capture the thoughts and essence of a woman Oprah Winfrey crowned as one of her 25 “Living Legends.”

Giovanni’s story is as much her own as it is an American tale of tumultuous history, with focus on the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Arts Movement, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

A.D. Carson (UVA) will present Nikki Giovanni with VAFF’s Changemaker Award. 

Discussion with Nikki Giovanni, moderated by Randall Stith (Virginia Tech).

Presented by

envision + UW(white)[2]

Supported by

UVA DEI – gold – DDEI_Logowhite

Supported by