Award-winning doc, ‘Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project’ hits Max on Jan. 8

The acclaimed documentary premiered at Sundance earlier this year.

After winning over crowds at Sundance and the New York Film Festival, the HBO Original documentary, “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project” is heading to Max on Jan. 8. 

“Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project” (Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute)

Aside from nabbing the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, the project was recently nominated for three Cinema Eye Honors Awards including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature, as well as two International Documentary Association Awards, including Best Feature Documentary, and a Film Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Documentary. 

Here’s the official 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 poets and social commentators. Giovanni reckons with the inevitable passing of time through intimate vérité, striking archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of her poetry, revealing the lasting impact of Giovanni’s work on American culture. 

The film is written and directed by Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster and contains the voice of Taraji P. Henson, who is also an executive producer along with Codie Elaine Oliver and others. 

On an episode of “Masters of The Game,”  Giovanni recalled her Tennessee upbringing, civil rights work, and her move to New York, where she became immersed in the Black Arts Movement. She also appeared on “Soul,” the innovative talk show Donny Hathaway said featured “the Black pool of genius.”


A Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize recipient, seven-time NAACP Image Award winner, and Grammy nominee, Giovanni was notably named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends,” among numerous other accolades. Also a renowned academic, mentor and educator who holds 27 honorary degrees, she welcomed the “Masters of the Game” crew to Virginia Tech, where, after a 35-year tenure, she is University Distinguished Professor Emerita

“Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project” debuts on Max on Jan. 8. 

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