HBO Documentary Films Acquires “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project”

HBO Documentary Films Acquires "Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project"

• HBO Documentary Films has acquired U.S. and Canada television and streaming rights to the critically acclaimed film, GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT, from Confluential Films and Rada Studio. From directors and producers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson (“American Promise,” “Stateless”), producer Tommy Oliver (HBO’s “40 Years A Prisoner,” “Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss”), and executive producers Taraji P. Henson and Codie Elaine Oliver, the film premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival where it was selected as the Grand Jury Prize winner in the U.S. Documentary Competition and it is an official selection in the Spotlight section of the 61st New York Film Festival. The film will be available in theaters this fall ahead of its debut in 2024 on HBO and Max.

• Synopsis: GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT travels through time and space to reveal the enduring influence of Nikki Giovanni, one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators. Giovanni reckons with the inevitable passing of time in intimate vérité and revealing archival footage. The film is a collision of memories, moments in American history, live readings, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry.

• Directors Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson quote: “We are thrilled and deeply honored that HBO Documentary Films, a beacon of innovation, authenticity, and a leading force committed to the art of storytelling, has recognized the significance of our work. We believe that through this collaboration, GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT has found a home where it will shine and have a global reach.”

• Tommy Oliver quote: “Joe and Michèle have crafted a bold, glorious, boundary-pushing portrait of one of our GREATS and I couldn’t be more excited to partner (yet again) with Lisa, Nancy, and the rest of the wonderful HBO Docs team to bring GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT to the world.”

• Credits: Confluential Films and Rada Studio, in association with JustFilms | Ford Foundation; in association with Bertha DOC SOCIETY. Written and directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson; with the voice of Taraji P. Henson; producers, Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson, Tommy Oliver; executive producers, Codie Elaine Oliver, Taraji P. Henson; editors, Terra Long, Lawrence Jackman, Regi Allen.

• About Rada Studio: Co-founded by Guggenheim fellows and four-time Emmy nominated partners, Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, Rada Studio ( aesthetically pushes the boundaries of form to play within and outside the conventions of storytelling by tapping into the rich legacy of the Black radical tradition and drawing from the pillars that define Black Atlantic expression. We draw in and center the Black diasporic experience, not only in the telling of deeply personal stories, created by, for and about BIPOC communities, but in how they are conveyed on-screen to global audiences. Rada Studio credits include, Sundance Jury Prizes (“American Promise,” “Going To Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project”), Canadian Screen Awards nominee (“Stateless”), Tribeca Grand Jury Prize for Best Immersive Narrative (“The Changing Same”), and four Emmy Award nominees (“American Promise,””The Changing Same)”.

• About Confluential Films: Founded by writer/director/producer Tommy Oliver, Confluential Films ( is a Black-owned production company and financier devoted to telling commercially-viable stories at the intersection of art, entertainment, and cultural specificity. We work across film, television, docs/docseries; and most recently, Confluential had four Sundance ’23 films, including “Young. Wild. Free.”, starring Algee Smith, Sierra Capri, Sanaa Lathan, and Mike Epps; “Fancy Dance,” starring Lily Gladstone and Shea Whigham; “To Live and Die and Live,” starring Amin Joseph, Omari Hardwicke, and Cory Hardrict; and the Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner, “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project.” Past projects include the AFI Audience Award-winner “Juice WRLD: Into the Abyss”; the HBO documentary “40 Years A Prisoner” (TIFF); six seasons of the ground-breaking docuseries “Black Love”; and award-winning indies “1982” (TIFF), “Jinn” (SXSW), and Sundance Audience-Award winner, “Kinyarwanda,” as well as “The Perfect Find” for Netflix, starring Gabrielle Union, Gina Torres, and Keith Powers.


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