About this film

“The trip to Mars can only be understood through Black Americans.” Legendary poet Nikki Giovanni’s revelation is a launching pad to an inspiring exploration of her life and legacy. Through a collision of memories, moments in American history, live readings of her poetry, and impressions of space, Giovanni urges us to imagine a future where Black women lead, and equity is a reality. In the film, Giovanni reflects on her time in Detroit, where she spent time in the company of the Rev. Albert Cleage, watching over his children when he and his wife Doris went out – a role she called her “revolutionary” duty because of the threats made against Cleage. Through intimate vérité, archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” pushes the boundaries of biographical documentary film by travelling through time and space to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators.

AFTER THE FILM: On Friday, Juanita Anderson, filmmaker and area head of media arts & studies at Wayne State University, talks with directors Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson. On Saturday, Anderson talks with Brewster.


5:30 p.m. Fri., April 28, Michigan Science Center (IMAX)

5:00 p.m. Sat., April 29, Michigan Science Center (Planetarium)


Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson

Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson, and Tommy Oliver

Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson

Samora Pinderhughes and Chris Pattishall

Greg Harriott

Terra Long and Larry Jackman


Running time:
1 hour 42 minutes

Country of Origin:
United States

Festival highlights:
Sundance Film Festival, True/False Film Fest

Film website