The Pulitzer at 100
The documentary is written and directed by Academy Award and two time Emmy winning documentary director Kirk Simon, who employed key members of his award winning team and it is co-produced by his brother Ron Simon who holds the prestigious position of Curator at The Paley Centre for Media in Manhattan.
The film was completed on the 13th of May 2016, and has been shown in festivals in Toronto Canada, Denver International Film Festival and DOC NYC in November 2016. In March 2017, the film was acquired by First Run Features, a distinguished and respected U.S. independent distribution company, one of the largest in North America. We are proud to announce the film began its trek across America at the prestigious Lincoln Plaza cinema, New York, on July 21st. The film hit the West Coast on August 11th, where it opened at Laemmle Theater Music Hall, Beverly Hills, CA. The film will continue its journey across the States playing in art-houses in various cities. The film continues its international screenings in documentary festivals in Croatia, New Zealand and Australia.
The strength of the film is in its first person interviews. The fact that such great and memorable artists make up the major part of the film with memorable stories is what will keep people coming back to it. The film includes excellent and lasting works from each of the decades from the actor readings so the viewer will be aware of the history especially from the first 50 years. As well as the winners, we have included limited literary voices for overview. Each of these voices represent the head of a department at a prestigious university such as Stanford, NYU or Georgetown. Finally, this 90 minute film has been made from the most valuable of resources: the artists themselves. This is what will create the most exciting , compelling and sale-able film.
The Pulitzer Prizes, which are administered at Columbia University, were established by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian-American journalist and newspaper publisher, who left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912 and establish the Pulitzer Prizes, which were first awarded in 1917. The importance of the Pulitzer Prizes for the Americans cannot be underestimated. The totality of the Pulitzers, news and arts, has had an immeasurable impact on the American sensibility and beyond over the past 100 years.
There has never been a documentary on this scale about this revered and highly respected award for literary excellence. We will be there to deliver to them a spectacular and thought provoking film that will spark the imaginations and thoughts of people, marking the beginning of a re-exploration and revisiting of the astonishing power of literature that has enriched our lives, whilst containing a century long social commentary of the human condition, wherein lie many answers to the problems manifested in the world today.
We congratulate Kirk Simon for his tireless efforts and those of his team who have paid homage to the Pulitzer Prizes by way of this summit documentary feature film.
“For a century the Pulitzer Prizes have remained the gold standard of excellence for a nation. The Pulitzers
focus attention on what is the best in journalism and the arts, defining excellence in a given year. This 90-minute independent documentary for national broadcast will explore the esteemed history, evolution, and impact of this country's most distinguished award. We will present an insider's view of how these pinnacles of achievement are selected in the twenty-one categories and how the award has the power to change lives and communities. We will also explore the enduring importance of the recognized work in contemporary cultural life, inspiring the next generation of writers, journalists, and readers.”
PRESS RELEASE FROM FIRST RUN FEATURES:
First Run Features is proud to announce the theatrical premiere of The Pulitzer at 100, the latest documentary by Oscar and Emmy-winning director Kirk Simon. The film opens at the prestigious Lincoln Plaza Cinema on July 21, with other cities to follow.
The Pulitzer at 100 celebrates the centenary of this revered and seminal national award for literary excellence in journalism and the Arts. The totality of the Pulitzers has had an immeasurable impact on the American sensibility and beyond over the past 100 years. The riveting tales of the winning artists give an insider’s view of how these pinnacles of achievement are selected in the twenty-one categories and how the award has the power to change lives and communities. The diverse stories explored in the film relate to immigration, race, gender, and above all freedom of speech – all issues that are ever more relevant in America today.
Featuring interviews with several notable prize recipients, including authors, journalists, playwrights and musicians such as Toni Morrison, Michael Chabon, Junot Díaz, Tony Kushner, Paula Vogel, Ayad Akhtar, Carl Bernstein, Robert Caro, Martin Baron, Nicolas Kristof, Thomas Friedman, David Remnick, Wynton Marsalis and John Adams, the film also brings Pulitzer-winning works to life through readings by Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Natalie Portman, Liev Schreiber, John Lithgow and Yara Shahidi, all of whom bring their own talents to bear on the words of their favorite writers.
Interwoven between the stories of the journalists and artists and readings is the history of the man who created it. Joseph Pulitzer, who came to America to fight as a mercenary in the Civil War, left money to Columbia University upon his death in 1911. A portion of his bequest was used to found the School of Journalism in 1912, not only to elevate the professionalism and to improve the craft but also to establish the Pulitzer Prizes which were first awarded in 1917. Today, both the iconic prizes and the prominence of the School of Journalism at Columbia represent the highest standards of integrity and excellence in writing.
A thoughtful and colorful tapestry of the last 100 years of journalistic and artistic life in America, The Pulitzer at 100 is an illuminating and thought-provoking work that will spark the imagination of viewers, marking the beginning of a re-exploration and revisiting of the astonishing power of literature, in all forms, that have enriched our lives, whilst containing a century-long social commentary on the human condition, wherein lie many answers to the problems manifested in the world today.
There are more than a thousand recipients of this prestigious award including journalists, novelists, poets, musicians and photographers and this film has been made from the most valuable of resources, the artists themselves, many of whom are featured in The Pulitzer at 100:
Carl Bernstein, The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, 1973
Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting & Affairs, 1983,1988 & 2002
Martin Baron, Editor of The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, National Reporting and Explanatory Journalism, 2014, 2015 & 2016
Robert Caro, Pulitzer Prize for Biography, 1975 & 2003
David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief of The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, 1994
Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Winner for Investigative Reporting, 2010 & 2015
Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and Commentary, 1990 & 2006
Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and National Reporting, 2014 & 2015
Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 2012
Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1999
Paula Vogel, writer of How I Learned To Drive, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1998
Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2008
Wynton Marsalis, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 1997
John Adams, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 2003
Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, 1973