Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Year: 2019
Country: United States
Run Time: 119 minutes

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Toni Morrison’s endless accolades – the Nobel Prize in Literature, Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and Presidential Medal of Freedom – are evidence of her seismic influence on literature and American culture. However, Morrison’s climb to preeminence was not an easy one. and recognition from the literary establishment was slow to arrive. Her life began on the racially integrated streets of Lorain, Ohio in a home with parents who strongly encouraged her interest in reading and education. But it was quite a culture shock when she experienced institutionalized segregation as a Howard University student when off-campus in Washington, DC. Morrison subsequently held a series of teaching positions before landing a L.W. Singer editing role, which changed the trajectory of her life. Her work led her to become the first black woman senior fiction editor for Random House. Morrison’s instinctive influence helped bring black fiction authors into the mainstream while encouraging autobiographies by activists such as Angela Davis and Mohammed Ali. Meanwhile, she began writing her own work and published The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Son of Solomon (1977), and Tar Baby (1981) with a focus on inspiring an African American audience. Broad acclaim did not arrive as quickly, and there was an outcry by dozens of black critics and writers after her 1987 epic novel, Beloved, failed to win major book awards. But many factors, including that protest and ongoing praise and engagement of Morrison’s work from such people as Oprah Winfrey, steered her to the universal praise she always deserved. TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM offers an intimate portrait of an American icon whose early life was shaped here in Northeast Ohio. – Patrick Shepherd

CIFF43 Screenings

Friday, April 05, 2019 at 8:25 PM

Saturday, April 06, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Local Heroes Competition

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is known for his strikingly intimate portraits of major cultural figures. His portraits can be found in such collections as the Modern Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum. He has produced and directed 13 documentaries and won a Grammy Award for "Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart" and an NAACP Image Award for "The Black List."


Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Johanna Giebelhaus, Chad Thompson, Tommy Walker

Graham Willoughby

Johanna Giebelhaus

Film Contact

Film Sponsors

Community Foundation of Lorain County

Community Partners

Links, Incorporated, Cleveland Chapter, The

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