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, Nicholas 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 with 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.