Don't Be Nice, dir. Max Powers / 96 min / Documentary / United States
A team of young New York City Slam Poets finds its voice as it competes for the National Championship during the summer of 2016.
Mentored by a demanding coach who encourages them to push past their personal boundaries and write from a place of vulnerability, pain and honesty, the poets break down, break through and compose their best work ever. Timely and difficult, their spoken word slays—but will these soul-searching pieces about police violence and the whitewashing of Black culture be able to compete against choreographed crowd- pleasers for the title? Will opting to make a statement instead of a show spell their defeat? An emotional and inspiring film that gives insightful commentary on race, gender, identity and sexual politics in America today, Don't Be Nice is both an absorbing competition doc and a vital writer's workshop that proves once and for all that winning hearts and minds is the ultimate prize.
Director Biography - Max Powers
Max Powers is a filmmaker and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. While an associate editor on the Emmy Award-winning documentary “We Could Be King,” Max edited the short films “Big Cheat” and “Something Happened” as well as episodes of the short series “Hell Week” for ESPN. Before directing “Don’t Be Nice,” his feature directorial debut, Max co-edited “Keepers of the Game” that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He has film Degree from Vassar College.