Don't Be Nice

Award-winning Film Profiles Five Poets Slamming Truth to Power

Juno Films has acquired the exclusive world-wide distribution rights to Director  Max Power’s Don’t Be Nice. The vérité documentary film had its world premiere at Hot Docs and will premiere theatrically at IFC Center September 20th followed by Los Angeles before it broadcasts on FuseTV in early October. Don’t Be Nice has won numerous awards including Best Documentary at Vail Film Festival, Macon Film Festival, Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, and Atlanta Docufest, the Audience Award at Roxbury International Film Festival, and directing awards at Port Townsend Film Festival and River Bend Film Festival.

The film chronicles the upstart Bowery Slam Poetry Team, made up of five African-American, Afro-Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s, preparing for the national championships. Their coach pushes them past personal boundaries to write from a painfully honest place, and the poets break down, break through, and ultimately write their masterpiece. Will their soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd-pleasers for the title? The team braves their inner demons and bucks societal expectations to write truthful poems, and to ultimately celebrate black joy. 

The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and Producer Nikhil Melnechuk on behalf of Radio Drama Network. “Don’t Be Nice is a documentary that shows the intersection between the personal and the political as expressed by the five poets and their tireless coach,” says Sheldon. “We are thrilled to be working with Max Powers, Nikhil Melnechuk, and Radio Drama Network to bring the film to American audiences.” Melnechuk adds, “there’s never been a better time for a film about the power speaking the truth has to change one’s life. The poets in Don’t Be Nice take big personal risk to share their stories with the world, and we can’t wait for audiences to hear what they have to say.

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