The Pulitzer at 100 Review – Captivating, Informative, Pulitzer’s Most Memorable Moments

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The Pulitzer at 100, from First Run Features, presents the story of the Pulitzer Prize, with historical accounts from Joseph Pulitzer's humble beginnings and the prestigious honor his award has become weaving throughout stories from scholars and winners.

Directed and produced by Kirk Simon, The Pulitzer at 100 interviews notable prize recipients authors, journalists, playwrights and musicians such as Toni Morrison, Michael Chabon, Tony Kushner, Ayad Akhtar, Martin Baron, and John Adams, Carl Bernstein, Thomas Friedman, Nick Ut , John Adams,  Wynton Marsalis , Junot Díaz,  Paula Vogel, Michael Cunningham , Tracy K. Smith, Carol Leonnig, Nicholas Kristof, Sheri Fink,  David Remnick, Martin Baron and Robert Caro.

Interweaving stories from the Pulitzer Prize winners themselves to an understanding of the value and importance, the documentary interviews noted members of the academic community including New York University's English Literature Professor Cyrus Patell, and Professor Ted Glasser of Stanford University.

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.


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With a list of Who's Who in American Journalism, Pulitzer Award winners and Academics, The Pulitzer at 100, beings with Nicolas Kristoff, two time winner of the Pulitzer for International Reporting and Commentary, telling  a simple story from his childhood which began with her friends asking him, while he was with his grandmother, what his career pursuit were and he, eager to begin his illustrious career explained he wanted to be a writer, noble now, then as evidence by his grandmother's quick response of "A doctor writer" not so much.

The Pulitzer at 100, for Journalists and writer, scholars and academics is a special film that showcases the highest honor journalists can bestow upon each other. Of course, many of the Pulitzer winners are unknown. As writers are often an obscure bunch tolling away in some lonely dank room, with dark-stained cups in the sink, and half-empty day old coffee in the pot, preparing the deadline copy.

Others, the stars of the profession are featured and bring to mind the memories of those days, times, seasons and events that brought us, as a population or a people, to pause.

The Pulitzer at 100 is more than a moment in the sun, a glory days type documentary on a profession that in the age of digital engagement is archaic, at best, a relic of finer days. It stands as a critique on society as the story, the craft, draws us back, those with voices and a desire to initiate dialogue, reminding us that excellence matters.


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The Pulitzer as the winners eloquently explain after they offer a brief glimpse of the momentary blindness and puffery the prize brings (and it should) that journalists are only as good as the last copy. Fading from the spotlight, can have its advantages as it creates the freedom to speak with audacity.

The winners featured are some widely remember, Carl Bernstein, The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, 1973, one half of the Watergate reporters, who along with Bob Woodward, tenaciously followed the stories of misconduct by then President Richard M. Nixon ending with the President resigning and five of his advisers landing in prison.   Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, 1973, who by chance caught one of the most horrific images to come out of the Vietnam War, titled The Napalm Girl, won for photography.

At the cusp of the Gilded Age in America, Joseph Pulitzer, (1847-1911), came to his own in the Journalism world operating a newspaper in St. Louis, in order to sell more newspapers engaged his competition in a news war which became known as Yellow Journalism.

Creating this Pulitzer Prize and an endowment for a School of Journalism at New York's Columbia University in his estate planning, one can surmise Pulitzer wanted to bring some respectability to the profession of Journalism combining traditional journalism with the craft of writing and expanding the prize to including Arts & Letters.

A few of the more than 1000 winner are 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.

Well done, engaging, and captivating, The Pulitzer at 100, is an indepth trip through some of the 20th and 21st Century's most meorable literary and journalistic moments.

The Pulitzer at 100 opens July 21, 2017. Check local listings.

 

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