"Don't Be Nice" Wins the Best Documentary Feature VTeddy
Middlebury NEW FILMMAKERS Festival

Middlebury NEW FILMMAKERS Festival

Don't Be Nice has won the Best Documentary Feature VTeddy Award at the 5th Annual Middlebury NEW FILMMAKERS Festival in Middlebury, VT.

Custom-made by Festival sponsor Vermont Teddy Bear Company, the VTeddies represent the creativity and joy that are at the heart of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. The festival hopes that all their winning filmmakers will find a lovely spot for their bear in their hearts and their homes.

The 2019 Festival introduced another new VTeddy Award, with a $1,000 cash prize attached: the Shouldice Family Prize for Best Vermont-Made Film. Returning for a second year: the Gaia Prize for Environmental Filmmaking [$1,000], endowed by a generous anonymous local donor. The Hernandez/Bayliss Prize [$1,000] was awarded for a third year to the feature film director whose work best captures the triumph of the human spirit as was the Clio Visualizing History Prize for the Advancement of Women in Film [$1,000], to a woman feature filmmaker who boldly explores a person or event of historical significance.

And back for a fourth year at MNFF5, the significant and singular Vermont Symphony Orchestra Award for best integration of music into film, selected by the VSO and presented to a short film director. The VSO will again pair the winning filmmaker with a selected rising composer to co-create a new short film with original music. Everyone hopes that the project will be ready for MNFF6 next August so that it can be screened alongside a live VSO performance of the original score. As this year’s screening of winner Jeremy Lee Mackenzie’s film, The Greatest Night with a simultaneous performance of an original score by Matthew Evan Taylor by the VSO demonstrates, this marvelous collaboration continues to evolve in exciting and highly original ways.

MNFF was also pleased to present special guest and legendary writer/director Paul Schrader with a VTeddy for “Sustained Excellence in Cutting Edge Filmmaking.” Notable also was the presentation of a VTeddy to Bruce Greenwood for “Sustained Excellence in Acting.” Awards were presented at the MNFF Closing Ceremonies on Sunday evening, August 25, 2019 at Town Hall Theater.

List of Award Winners

 

 

"Don't Be Nice" Wins Best Documentary at Vail Film Festival
Vail Film Festival

Vail Film Festival

Don't Be Nice has won the Best Documentary Award at the 16th Annual Vail Film Festival in Vail, CO.

Organizers of the 16th annual Vail Film Festival, which celebrated women in film Aug. 15-18, have announced the official award recipients for this year’s festival.

“We are incredibly proud to shine a light on female filmmakers. The films being screened are interesting not only for the themes that are explored but how women specifically address these themes,” Vail Film Festival director Corinne Hara said in a news release. “We are thankful to the many innovative and groundbreaking artists who joined us for this year’s festival. We also want to thank our signature partners, the town of Vail, CineBistro and All Points North Lodge, as well as our patrons, volunteers, staff and sponsors for their generous support.”

This year’s Vail Film Festival honored actor, writer and director Hannah Marks with its Rising Star award for her work in both film and television. Marks was the female lead opposite Elijah Wood in the hit TV series “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency,” wrote and directed the acclaimed independent film “After Everything” and wrote and starred in “Banana Split,” winner of the festival’s Best Film Award.

2019 VAIL FILM FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS!

Best Film: Banana Split

Audience Award: Being Frank

Best Documentary: Don’t Be Nice

Best Short Film: Cannonball

Best Student Film: Variables

Best Screenplay: James Stewart

Vail Daily Article List of Award Winners

 

 

"Don't Be Nice" Wins the Audience Favorite Award at RoxFilm!
Roxbury International Film Festival

Roxbury International Film Festival

Don't Be Nice has won the Audience Favorite Award at the 21st Annual Roxbury International Film Festival in Boston, MA.

The Roxbury International Film Festival is the largest festival in New England that celebrates people of color. Over the course of 10 days the festival screens all genres of films, holds workshops and panel discussions and offers filmmakers the opportunity to network with each other as well as audience members. Screenings take place at the Museum of Fine Arts, Haley House Bakery Café and other sites in and around Roxbury.

This year’s winners include:

Audience Favorite

DON’T BE NICE

Best Documentary Feature

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

Special Jury Award Documentary Feature

GREETINGS FROM ROXBURY

Best Documentary Short

WARRIOR WOMEN

Honorable Mention Documentary Short

SONG FOR OUR PEOPLE

Best Narrative Feature

VAI

Honorable Mention Narrative Feature

SPRINTER

Best Narrative Short

83 DAYS

List of Award Winners

 

 

Max Powers Wins Best Director Award at River Bend Film Festival
Director Max Powers with Poet Ashley August

Director Max Powers with Poet Ashley August

Don’t Be Nice’s Director Max Powers has won Best Director at the 18th Annual River Bend Film Festival in Goshen, Indiana.

River Bend Film Festival is an annual 3-day celebration of independent cinema from around the globe laced with workshops and filmmaker coffee talks every Spring in downtown Goshen, Indiana. River Bend has screened hundreds of student, regional, and international films, averaging 50-70 per year. It has also offered workshops on lighting, acting, editing, screenwriting, visual effects, crowdfunding, and more.

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. Don't Be Nice is Max's directorial debut film.

Thanks to the whole #RBFF2019 team!

List of Award Winners

 

 

The Goshen News Covers River Bend Film Festival's Doc Panel
Six documentary filmmakers speak on the topic of “Developing the Doc” during a panel discussion at Goshen Brewing Company. Photo Credit: John Kline | The Goshen News.

Six documentary filmmakers speak on the topic of “Developing the Doc” during a panel discussion at Goshen Brewing Company. Photo Credit: John Kline | The Goshen News.

Six filmmakers were invited to speak on the topic of “Developing the Doc” during a panel discussion at the Goshen Brewing Company on the final day of the 2019 River Bend Film Festival.

“It used to be that you needed film and technicians and thousands of dollars,” Melnechuk said of the industry. “Now that you don’t have that, what I think hopefully can change is how immediate the process of creating a film can be. Everyone is pulling out their cameras to take selfies, and I think that might change the way films look and feel if there’s less setup, the intention is more immediate and direct, etc.”

Pictured, from left, are Kyle Hufford, a film and video production teacher at Goshen College representing the film “Deep Dive”; Riley Mills, co-director of the short film “Honeysuckle Whiskey”; David Kendall, moderator; Elizabeth Derstine, co-director of “Honeysuckle Whiskey”; Nikhil Melnechuk, producer of the film “Don’t Be Nice”; Shawn Rhodes, producer of the film “This Is Love”; and Matt Litwiller, representing the short film “Liminal”.

Read the Full Story

 

Nikhil Melnechuk Talks "Don't Be Nice" Live on WXXI News' 'Connections'

Click to Listen

Wednesday, February 13th from 1-2pm Don’t Be Nice Producer Nikhil Melnechuk will be live on Connections with Evan Dawson talking about the film with Kevin Hicks, manager of the Black Cinema Series at The Little Theatre; and Shaq Payne, a Rochester-based slam poet.

Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on Connections, Every weekday from Noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255).

WEEKDAYS NOON-2:00 P.M. ON WXXI-AM 1370, FM 107.5, AND WRUR 88.5 FM IN ROCHESTER, WEOS 89.5 FM IN GENEVA

Don’t Be Nice will be screening at 6:30pm Friday, February 15th at the Little Theatre as part of The Black Cinema Series.

Click to Listen Little Theatre Screening Info

 

Savannah Now Catches "Don't Be Nice" on the Red Carpet
(L-R) , Don’t Be Nice Director Max Powers and Producer Nikhil Melnechuk on the red carpet at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

(L-R) , Don’t Be Nice Director Max Powers and Producer Nikhil Melnechuk on the red carpet at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

This week Don’t Be Nice is in Savannah, GA at the 21st Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Savannah Now caught up with Director Max Powers and Nikhil Melnechuk on the red carpet Monday night.

“Don’t Be Nice” is the story of the Bowery Slam Poetry Team as it prepares for the national championship.

“I run the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, and there is incredible community of poets there, some of the best in the world,” Melnechuk said. “In 2016, when we made the film, there was a new crop, a new generation of slam poets about to come up. I saw that there was something incredible happening that we needed to film. So I called my favorite director, one of my oldest friends to come in and see whether or not it could be made into a documentary film.”

“It was fun; it was exciting,” Powers said. “It was really hard at times. I mean, with these poems and poets, they’re sharing really deep personal experiences and really wearing their hearts on their sleeves. For a documentary, that is really great because you get a lot of access. But it’s also incredibly challenging to be in the room with people who are being so vulnerable.”

Don’t Be Nice has its second SCAD Savannah Film Festival screening at 9:30am Saturday, November 3rd (event link) at the Trustees Theater in Savannah, GA.

Read the Full Story Watch the Red Carpet Interview

 

"Don't Be Nice" and "Fevah" Honored at Adirondack Film Festival
(L-R) Producer Nikhil Melnechuk, Actress/EP Melissa Jackson, Story Producer/Editor David Lieberman, Director Max Powers, Programming Director Jess Levandoski

(L-R) Producer Nikhil Melnechuk, Actress/EP Melissa Jackson, Story Producer/Editor David Lieberman, Director Max Powers, Programming Director Jess Levandoski

Don’t Be Nice and Fevah were both honored at the Third Annual Adirondack Film Festival in Glens Falls, New York. Don’t Be Nice was chosen by Programming Director Jess Levandoski as her top pick for the festival, earning an encore “Jess’s Pick” screening on the festival’s “Best-Of-Fest” day, Sunday, October 21st. Fevah received Runner-Up in the Best Dramatic Short Competition.

The Adirondack Film Festival screens over 80 films in one weekend to thousands of viewers annually. The festival features panel discussions, a free family series, multiple parties & special events, and a selection of indie and studio feature length and short films all taking place on 7 screens in downtown Glens Falls. With all locations in walking distance in the middle of a charming city surrounded by restaurants and, parks, and shopping, it’s the ideal setting for a major festival. All AFF filmmakers receive a complimentary room!

Thanks to Chad, Jess, Jessica, Robert, Tab, and the whole #ADK2018 team. Filmmakers—make sure to submit your film’s to next year’s Adirondack Film Festival.

 

Max Powers Wins Directing Award for "Don't Be Nice" at Port Townsend
Director Max Powers

Director Max Powers

Don’t Be Nice’s Director Max Powers has won the Jim Ewing Young Director Award at the 19th Annual Port Townsend Film Festival in Washington.

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. Don't Be Nice is Max's directorial debut film.

Thanks to Jane and the whole #PTFF2018 team. See Don’t Be Nice next at Bushwick Film Festival, 8:05pm Saturday, October 13th.

List of Award Winners COMMENT ON FACEBOOK

 

 

"Don't Be Nice" Wins the 13th Annual Atlanta DocuFest!
Atlanta DocuFest

Atlanta DocuFest

Don't Be Nice has won Best Documentary Feature at the 13th Annual Atlanta DocuFest in Atlanta, GA. 

Winners include:

Best Documentary Feature
DON’T BE NICE
by Max Powers

Best Foreign Documentary Feature
STATE OF EXCEPTION
by Jason O'Hara

Best Social Issue Documentary Feature
THE MOST DANGEROUS YEAR
by Vlada Knowlton

Best Director
WE ARE COLUMBINE
by Laura Farber

The 13th Annual Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival (Atlanta Docufest) is held September 13 - 15, 2018 at the Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

Docufest brings you the best independent documentary films from across the globe. The festival spotlights powerful and meaningful life stories which educate and entertain audiences of every demographic.

List of Award Winners

 

 

Variety Reports: "Don't Be Nice" NY Premiere at Urbanworld
Variety Magazine

Variety Magazine

Today's Variety Magazine reports that Don't Be Nice will have its New York Premiere at the 22nd Annual Urbanworld Film Festival. Don't Be Nice is one of four feature documentaries in competition.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES
“21 and Done” – Directed by Kiara C. Jones (World Premiere)
“Don’t Be Nice” – Directed by Max Powers (New York Premiere)
“Mr. Soul!” – Directed by Melissa Haizlip
“She Did That.” – Directed by Renae Bluitt
“The Pushouts” – Directed by Katie Galloway (New York Premiere)
Universal Pictures’ “Night School,” starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, will open the 22nd annual Urbanworld Film Festival.

Night School” is one of more than 60 films and TV shows being screened at the fest — an annual showcase of diverse culture — including the debut of the Fox show “Rel.” “Get Out’s” Lil Rel Howery stars in the series and will take part in a Q&A following the screening at New York City’s AMC Empire 25.

HBO will also screen two spotlight selections: first-time filmmaker Rudy Valdez’s “The Sentence,” a documentary about mandatory minimum sentencing, and Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown’s “United Skates,” a doc about some of America’s last standing roller rinks. 

Passes for the festival, which runs from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23, are available at the Urbanworld website, and tickets for official selections and spotlights will be available in September.

Read the Article     Festival Listing     Buy Tickets

"Don't Be Nice" Wins the 13th Annual Macon Film Festival
Macon Film Festival

Macon Film Festival

Don't Be Nice has won Best Documentary at the 13th Annual Macon Film Festival in Macon, GA. 

Surrounded by a rich musical and southern culture, the Macon Film Festival celebrates independent films while promoting filmmaking for entertainment, inspiration, education, and economic development.
After another record-breaking year in 2017, the Macon Film Festival is heading into its 13th year with a four-day festival planned for August 16th - 19th. The Macon Film Festival screens independent films from around the world in multiple historic theaters in the city's downtown district. The festival features film screenings, celebrity guests, special screenings, and workshops throughout the festival weekend.

About Macon Film Festival

 

 

"Don't Be Nice" featured on CBS 13WMAZ Entertainment

Don't Be Nice was featured on CBS affiliate 13WMAZ as part of their coverage of the 13th Annual Macon Film Festival in Macon, Georgia. The film will screen next at 10:30pm Sunday, August 19th at Theatre Macon. Journalist Nicole Butler interviewed Producer Nikhil Melnechuk for the piece.

The Macon Film Festival is heading into its 13th year with a four day festival planned for August 16 - 19, 2018. The festival screens independent films from around the world in multiple historic theaters in the city's downtown district. The festival features film screenings, celebrity guests, special screenings, and workshops throughout the whole festival weekend.

View the listing here: https://2018maconfilmfestival.sched.com/event/FGhr/documentary-dont-be-nice
Full Festival schedule: https://2018maconfilmfestival.sched.com

Catch the Aug. 19th Screening

"Don't Be Nice" Nominated for Best Doc. at BronzeLens
BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta

BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta

Don't Be Nice has been Nominated for Best Documentary at the 2018 BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, along with Dan Harris' Show Me Democracy and Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown's United Skates

The BronzeLens Awards Show Awards Show honors the best of the festival’s filmmakers as well as other noteworthy industry leaders, and will take place at 8pm Saturday, August 25th at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, NW, Atlanta, GA. Categories include the best in Features, Documentaries and International films, Shorts, Student Films, Web Series, Actress and Actor. The highest award presented is for Best Overall.

Watch the Announcement     Buy Screening Tickets

 

 

At The Movies Online's "Don't Be Nice" Interview
Nikhil Melnechuk on Stage at Bowery Poetry

Nikhil Melnechuk on Stage at Bowery Poetry

Gabrielle Alexandra Smith of Atlanta's At The Movies Online interviews Don't Be Nice Producer and Bowery Poetry Studios Founder Nikhil Melnechuk about the film's development. 

ATM: What is your take on the poetry scene today?
NM: The poetry scene is fired up. People are starting to look to poets in a time where it is becoming harder and harder to trust news and the official story of anything. Poets are really stepping up to this responsibility. The poets in the film have really become spokespeople in their community. People are expressing in an artful way what it makes to be them and a part of the world.

Read the full interview here.

"Don't Be Nice" Selected for AFI DOCS 2018 Impact Lab
© Raben_Impact

© Raben_Impact

Five films have been selected for the fourth annual AFI DOCS Impact Lab in partnership with RABEN_IMPACT. The selections for this distinguished fellowship and training program are four feature documentary films — CHARM CITY, DON’T BE NICE, THE PROVIDERS, and PERSONAL STATEMENT, which will have its world premiere and open AFI DOCS this year — and the short documentary film, BROTHER.

Led by impact strategists Heidi Nel and Charlie Crocker, the Impact Lab is designed for filmmakers with issue-driven films who aim to create broader social impact and political change through the power of story and film. The two and a half day Lab, which will take place June 11 through 13 in the lead-up to the festival, provides fellows with unique training opportunities with some of the most sought-after tacticians in the areas of advocacy, grassroots communications and grasstops engagement. Lab fellows are also connected with policymakers and Congressional aides working on legislation relevant to their films. The 16th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 13–17 in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD.

Full story from AFI DOCS here.

 

 

The AFI DOCS Interview: DON’T BE NICE Director Max Powers

"Following a team of New York slam poets as they prepare to compete in the National Poetry Slam during the charged summer of 2016, DON’T BE NICE shows the value of a team in developing, workshopping and refining a poem before it is ready for competition."

"Featuring a diverse group of poets — each mining their feelings about race, sexuality, gender and popular culture, and digging deep from painful personal experiences — this exhilarating film demonstrates how collaboration and communication between artists can allow them to better understand who they are and what they want to say."

AFI spoke to director Max Powers about the film, which plays AFI DOCS on Friday, June 15, at 1:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Get tickets here.

Read AFI's full interview here

"Don't Be Nice" Is a Guardian Top 10 Pick
Don’t Be Nice. Hot Docs 2018

Don’t Be Nice. Hot Docs 2018

Sonya Davidson of the Toronto Guardian chose DON’T BE NICE as one of her Top 10 Picks for Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival!

"Hot Docs announces their 2018 line up of films with a whopping 246 documentaries from 56 countries scheduled to screen at this year’s Festival. This 25th edition of Hot Docs Film Festival will take place April 26 to May 6 at various theatres across Toronto…

So, while we digest what documentaries are coming, here are our top line picks at first glance as presented at the press conference:

DON’T BE NICE: Directed by Max Powers (USA). World Premiere. About an upstart slam poetry team from NYC preparing for national championships.  Made up of five African-American, Afro Hispanic and queer poets in their 20s the team is mentored by a demanding coach who encourages them to push past their personal boundaries. Part of the Artscapes program."

Read the full article here: https://torontoguardian.com/2018/03/hotdocs25-top-10-toronto/