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11 items from 2016

Film News: 7 Films Announced For 2016 Chicago Critics Film Festival

9 March 2016 3:38 PM, PST | | See recent news »

Chicago – The Chicago Film Critics Association (Ccfa) has announced the first wave of films that will be presented at the 4th Annual Chicago Critics Film Festival (Ccff). The fest dates are May 20th to the 26th, 2016, will it will take place at the historic Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

The 2016 Chicago Critics Film Festival is scheduled for May 20 through May 26, 2016.

Photo credit: Cfca

The Ccff is the first film festival curated by film critics, and features a selection of films comprised of recent festival favorites and as-yet-undistributed works from a wide variety of filmmakers. Passes are now on sale (information below), and the following seven films are just a sampling of over 25 films that will screen during the festival.

Beauty and the Beast: Christophe Gans, the director of such films as “Brotherhood of the Wolf” and “Silent Hill,” unites two of France’s biggest stars, Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux, »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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‘Morris From America’ Director & Cast Discuss Making Their Sundance Hit, Real-Life Inspiration, and More

1 February 2016 8:39 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Three years after making a splash among indie enthusiasts with his feature This is Martin Bonner, writer-director Chad Hartigan has brought another film to Sundance. But whereas the former was about an old man navigating the barren, grayscale landscape of Sparks, Nevada, Morris from America is aglow with lusty colors and youthful energy. The film centers on young Morris, played by newcomer Markees Christmas, and his difficulty adjusting to life as a black American boy in Heidelberg, Germany. Craig Robinson (of The Office fame) plays Morris’ father, Curtis. At Sundance, we sat down with Hartigan, Robinson, and Christmas to discuss the making of the film and the development of its characters.

The Film Stage: How did you find Markees for the project?

Chad Hartigan: I had friends who were familiar with this YouTube series he was in called Markees Vs. They emailed me about him, telling me to check it out, »

- Daniel Schindel

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Sundance Review: 'Morris From America' Puts a Fresh Spin on Familiar Ingredients

30 January 2016 10:33 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The story of a 13-year-old boy who moves to a new neighborhood and struggles to find his place, "Morris From America" hails from a familiar playbook. But the specifics of that scenario — Morris (extraordinary newcomer Markees Christmas) is African American, and he's living in Heidelberg, Germany — freshen up the formula. The dissonance of character and place in writer-director Chad Hartigan's followup to 2013's similarly low key "This is Martin Bonner" gives this otherwise straightforward, well-acted coming-of-age tale an added cultural weight. It's both sweetly understated and progressive. Read More: The 2016 Indiewire Sundance Bible: All the Reviews, Interviews and News Posted During The Festival From the moment Morris is seen in the opening shot, bobbing his head to a hip hop beat, Hartigan makes it clear whose perspective the movie will adopt. Sent to his room by his father Curtis (Craig Robinson, in his first genuine dramatic turn) for not liking. »

- Eric Kohn

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Sundance: A24 Buys ‘Morris From America’

24 January 2016 2:33 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

A24 has snapped up rights to “Morris From America,” a coming-of-age story about a rap loving teenager growing up in Germany, that premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival.

Craig Robinson (“The Office”) and newcomer Markees Christmas star as a father and son whose relationship is tested. Chad Hartigan (“This Is Martin Bonner”) directed the film.

Variety critic Justin Chang praised the film as “a warm and winsome portrait of an African-American teenager adjusting uneasily to his new life in Heidelberg, Germany.”

The price tag was for north of $1 million. UTA brokered the deal, which was first reported by Deadline.

Morris From America” was produced by Martin Heisler, Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy and Gabriele Simon, and executive produced by Michael B. Clark and Alex Turtletaub of Beachside.


- Brent Lang

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Daily | Sundance 2016 | Chad Hartigan’s Morris From America

24 January 2016 4:32 AM, PST | Keyframe | See recent Keyframe news »

"Chad Hartigan’s This Is Martin Bonner (2013) established him as a subtle, original filmmaking voice attuned to stories of uprooting and dislocation, and he wrings a more accessible and no less specific variation on the same theme with Morris From America, a warm and winsome portrait of an African-American teenager adjusting uneasily to his new life in Heidelberg, Germany." So says Variety's Justin Chang. We're gathering reviews of the Sundance Us Dramatic Competition title starring Craig Robinson and Markees Christmas, plus interviews and more. » - David Hudson »

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Sundance Dispatch 1: Morris From America, Operation Avalanche and Nuts!

23 January 2016 12:44 PM, PST | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

Chad Hartigan’s Morris From America has an unpromising logline, but so did his previous feature, This is Martin Bonner (an unlikely friendship between two men looking for redemption etc. etc.), and that turned out pretty well, so I wasn’t worried. Morris is a coming-of-age crowdpleaser, in the vein of “it’s been 18 years since Rushmore, but this version is different because…” (Son of Rambow, Submarine, et al.). I know a lot of people (I’m one of them, no shade implied) who find a deep satisfaction in action movies novel only in their details and crispness of execution while placing no value upon originality per se. That’s a principle which, of […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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Sundance Review: Morris From America Is Lovely

23 January 2016 11:53 AM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

Near the end of the Sundance movie Morris from America, Craig Robinson gets a Scene, with a capital S. It’s not an ostentatious display of emotion or anything, but it is a monologue, and a tender one at that. He’s driving, talking to his son, and recalling a key moment from his life with the boy’s mom, and how he wound up moving to Germany on a romantic whim. It’s a lovely, heartbreaking scene — and the movie knows it. Writer-director Chad Hartigan (This Is Martin Bonner) keeps the camera mostly fixed on Robinson throughout, giving him the spotlight and the space as the character simultaneously indulges in a fond memory and tries to connect with his teenage son. But despite all that, nothing in this moment feels forced. Both stylistically and emotionally, the movie has earned it.The Morris in Morris from America is Mo (a wonderful Markees Christmas), a portly, »

- Bilge Ebiri

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[Sundance Review] Morris From America

23 January 2016 7:12 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Coming to Sundance with his tender character study This is Martin Bonner a few years back, director Chad Hartigan triumphantly returns with the coming-of-age comedy Morris From America, a stylistic leap forward that still retains a keen sense of humanity. Telling the story of our title character attempting to keep his identity while making friends in the foreign land of Germany, it’s also an acutely funny testament to single parenting and the specific bond it fosters when both sides put in their all.

Originally from Virginia, Morris (Markees Christmas) and his father Curtis (Craig Johnson) now live in Heidelberg, Germany, with the latter working as a coach for a local soccer team and the former trying to acquaint himself as a stranger in a strange land. With a deep love for hip-hop, passed on from his father, he crafts his own rhymes to practice alone in his bedroom.

Outside »

- Jordan Raup

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Sundance 2016: 'Morris From America' Takes on Heidelberg, Germany

23 January 2016 12:10 AM, PST | | See recent news »

One of the first real gems of 2016 Sundance Film Festival is the film Morris From America, the latest feature from filmmaker Chad Hartigan (of This is Martin Bonner previously). Morris, played by Markees Christmas, is a 13-year-old African-American living with his single father, played by Craig Robinson, in the city of Heidelberg, Germany. It's a complete fish-out-of-water story about the "only two brothers" in the town, but it's also a magnificent coming-of-age story that proudly emphasizes a "be yourself" attitude. It has a great soundtrack utilizing a mix of American hip hop and European techno, with impressive performances from Christmas and Robinson, and an amusing, funky vibe that made me so happy I came across this film. This is usually the case with Sundance films, but I've never really seen anything like this film before. There's not much to compare it to, as it's set entirely in Germany but doesn't feel like it's overly European. »

- Alex Billington

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‘Morris From America’ Tackles Race, Adolescence With Charm

22 January 2016 5:09 PM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

As Hollywood grapples with diversity inside its own walls, Sundance 2016 brought a charming and human tale of race, adolescence and identity in “Morris From America.” Directed by Sundance native son Chad Hartigan (“This is Martin Bonner”), “Morris” tells of an African-American father and son living in a historic German town where all is quaint but not very welcoming. It premiered in the U.S. Dramatic competition Friday afternoon at Park City’s Eccles Theater. Craig Robinson (“The Office”) is a Virginian football player turned European soccer coach who displaces both himself and his 13-year-old boy Morris to a culture where neither fit in. »

- Matt Donnelly

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Sundance Film Review: ‘Morris From America’

22 January 2016 4:08 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Chad Hartigan’s “This Is Martin Bonner” (2013) established him as a subtle, original filmmaking voice attuned to stories of uprooting and dislocation, and he wrings a more accessible and no less specific variation on the same theme with “Morris From America,” a warm and winsome portrait of an African-American teenager adjusting uneasily to his new life in Heidelberg, Germany. Set to the pulsing hip-hop music that fuels Morris’ dreams and offers him refuge in a place that can seem friendly and threatening by turns, this coming-of-age dramedy explores how the challenges of being young, black and misunderstood can be compounded in a foreign environment, but goes about it in a grounded, character-driven way that never smacks of manipulation or special pleading.

Although livelier and more upbeat than “This Is Martin Bonner” in a way that should be reflected commercially, Hartigan’s third feature (he debuted with 2008’s “Luke and Brie »

- Justin Chang

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

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