Joe Brewster is a Harvard educated psychiatrist who uses this training in when approaching the social issues that he tackles as an artist and filmmaker. Brewster wrote and directed his first film, "The Keeper" (1995), after a two year-long stint as a prison psychiatrist at the notorious Brooklyn House of Detention. "The Keeper" was screened at the Edinburgh, Toronto, and Sundance Festivals, receiving numerous awards. In the past three decades, Brewster has produced and directed narrative films, documentary films, and immersive media. His feature documentary, "American Promise" (2013) was nominated for three Emmys and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. In 2022, Brewster produced the O-DOGG: An Angeleno Take on Othello, featuring Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His groundbreaking room-scale production premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received a jury prize at the Tribeca Festival in 2021 for Best Immersive Experience.
Filmmaker, artist, and author, Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Haitian and Panamanian roots and experience as a social justice lawyer to think radically about storytelling and disrupt the imaginary in non-fiction spaces. She tells emotionally driven personal stories of resistance and identity that center on the lived experiences of communities of color in the Americas and the Black diaspora. Her feature documentary, "American Promise" (2013), was nominated for three Emmys and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. Her work "Stateless" (2020) was nominated for a Canadian Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Most recently, Stephenson collaborated as co-director on the magical realist virtual reality trilogy series on racial terror, "The Changing Same", which was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Interactive Media Innovative category. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Immersive Narrative at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project
For over 50 years, poet Nikki Giovanni has lent a strong, political voice to the African-American experience. In a multi-layered portrait that does not exclude ambivalences, the directors use their imaginative and associative prowess to combine impressive archival material and live performances with personal encounters and the visualization of her poems, in which the artist reveals herself. The film won the Grand Jury Prize (U.S. documentary competition) at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
US 2023, Directors: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson, DoP: Greg Harriott, Editors: Terra Long, Lawrence Jackman, Sound: Ayana Enomoto-Hurst, Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Amilca Palmer, Jonathan Lau, Producers: Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson, Tommy Oliver, Music: Samora Pinderhughes, Chris Pattishall
DCP, OV, European Premiere
in cooperation with the Haus für Poesie