Morris from America

Morris from America is a 2016 American-German coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Chad Hartigan, and produced by Martin Heisler, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski, and Gabriele Simon. It stars Craig Robinson, Markees Christmas, Carla Juri, Lina Keller and Jakub Gierszał. It is about a 13-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a rapper in an EDM-dominated culture.

Morris from America
Morris from America.jpg
Film poster
Directed byChad Hartigan
Written byChad Hartigan
Produced by
CinematographySean McElwee
Edited byAnne Fabini
Music byKeegan DeWitt
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 22, 2016 (2016-01-22) (Sundance)
  • August 19, 2016 (2016-08-19) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes
  • United States
  • Germany
  • English
  • German
Box office$91,181[1]

It was shown in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival,[2] where Hartigan won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.[3] The film was released on July 7, 2016, through DirecTV Cinema prior to opening in a limited release on August 19, 2016, by A24.[4]


A coming-of-age adventure story of a 13-year-old American boy Morris who is currently living in Germany with his father Curtis, a soccer coach. Mo faces rejection from his peer group, finds himself impinged on boundaries of trust with his language tutor, romantic infatuation and drug use, finds niche in his rapping skills, learns to accept unexpected and odd experiences without taxing himself. His father also struggles to fit in with German culture and tries to be a stand up man for his son while grieving for his recently dead wife. He does what can be done best at the given time for making a better environment for Mo to grow up.


  • Craig Robinson as Curtis Gentry
  • Markees Christmas as Morris "Mo" Gentry
  • Carla Juri as Inka
  • Lina Keller as Katrin
  • Jakub Gierszał as Per
  • Levin Henning as Bastian
  • Leon Badenhop as Rainer
  • Marie Loschhorn as Birgit
  • Patrick Güldenberg as Sven
  • Josephine Becker as Nadine
  • Eva Löbau as Katrin's Mother


In July 2015, it was announced that Chad Hartigan would be directing a film from a screenplay he wrote.[5] It was also announced that Craig Robinson, Carla Juri, and Markees Christmas, Lina Keller, Jakub Gierszal, Eva Löbau and Levin Henning had all been cast in the film, with Christmas portraying the role of an American boy moving to Germany, with Robinson portraying his father, and Juri portraying the role of his tutor.[5] It was also announced that Lichtblick Media GMBH and Beachside Films would be co-producing the film, which is being produced by Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski, Martin Heisler and Gabriele Simon, executive producing are Michael B. Clark and Alex Turtletaub.[5]


The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2016.[6][7] Shortly after, A24 acquired U.S distribution rights to the film.[8] The film was released on DirecTV Cinema on July 7, 2016, prior to opening in a limited release on August 19, 2016.[9]


Critical responseEdit

Morris From America received positive reviews from film critics. It holds an 87% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 86 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's consensus reads, "Morris from America adds some novel narrative twists to its father-son story -- and gains added resonance thanks to a powerful performance from Craig Robinson."[10] On Metacritic the film has a score of 75 out of 100 score, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

Justin Chang of gave the film a positive review writing "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."[12] Eric Kohn of gave the film a B+ writing : "Morris From America excels at conveying the inherent power of companionship in a largely indifferent world. When Curtis asserts that he and his son are 'the only two brothers in Heidelberg,' it's the movie's coziest moment."[13]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male Markees Christmas Nominated [14]
Outstanding Independent Film Morris from America Nominated
Cleveland International Film Festival Best American Independent Feature Film Chad Hartigan Nominated [15]
Gotham Awards Best Actor Craig Robinson Nominated [16]
Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male Craig Robinson Nominated [17]
Seattle International Film Festival Futurewave Youth Jury Award Chad Hartigan Nominated [18]
Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize Craig Robinson Won [3][19]
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award Chad Hartigan Won
Grand Jury Prize Chad Hartigan Nominated


  1. ^ "Morris from America". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "Sundance: Competition and Next Films Announced for 2016 Festival". Sundance. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Sundance: The Birth of a Nation Sweeps Top Prizes". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  4. ^ Anderton, Ethan (June 14, 2016). "Morris from America Trailer & Poster:Craig Robinson Raises A Teen with Big Dreams in Germany". Slash Film. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Hipes, Patrick (July 23, 2015). "Chad Hartigan Sets Next Film 'Morris From America' With Craig Robinson & Carla Juri". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  7. ^ "Morris From America". Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  8. ^ Lang, Brent (January 24, 2016). "Sundance: A24 Buys 'Morris From America'". Variety. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  9. ^ "Trailer + Poster Debut for Sundance 2016 Award-Winning Crowd-Pleaser, 'Morris from America'". Shadow and Act. June 14, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  10. ^ "Morris From America (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  11. ^ "Morris from America reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  12. ^ Chang, Justin (January 22, 2016). "Sundance Film Review: 'Morris From America'". Variety. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  13. ^ Kohn, Eric (January 30, 2016). "Sundance Review: 'Morris From America' Puts a Fresh Spin on Familiar Ingredients". Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  14. ^ Davis, Clayton (December 14, 2016). "Black Reel Award Nominees – 'Moonlight' Leads with 13 Nominations". Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  15. ^ "CIFF year 40th". Cleveland International Film Festival. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  16. ^ Cox, Gordon (October 20, 2016). "Gotham Awards Nominations 2016: 'Manchester By The Sea' Leads with Four". Variety. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  17. ^ Warren, Matt (November 22, 2016). "2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations Announced!". Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  18. ^ Huey, Sara (June 6, 2016). "Captain Fantastic, Gleason, Girl Asleep Win Top Awards At The 42nd Seattle International Film Festival". Seattle International Film Festival. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  19. ^ "Awards and Winners". Sundance. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2016.

External linksEdit