The MAKING OF
THE FOREIGNER'S HOME
In 2006, the Louvre asked Toni Morrison to curate an exhibition that became “The Foreigner’s Home” and included the author in conversation with other artists about the idea of “the foreigner.” Morrison’s son Ford accompanied her to Paris and shot video footage throughout the two-week event.
In 2012, longtime friends and neighbors Toni Morrison and Jonathan Demme sat discussing the fate of Ford’s footage, now stored in her home. Demme, sensitive to Morrison’s wish for discretion and aware that she grew up in Lorain, Ohio (just up the road from Oberlin), suggested taking the footage to two filmmakers at Oberlin College with whom he had developed a friendship.
Demme, after consulting with Oberlin College President, Marvin Krislov, brought the project to us. Not long after, we traveled with President Krislov and Demme to meet with Toni and Ford Morrison at her home in New York. By the end of the afternoon, she had agreed to grant us exclusive access to Ford’s Louvre materials and given us permission to make a film.
We were honored and delighted to accept the task, and for the next two-plus years, we looked through, organized, transcribed, and translated the material and cut a shorter version of the film. We also began to research and bring in archival footage and generate original animation and musical accompaniment.
All the while, we sought funding and worked to gain Toni Morrison’s trust so that we could deepen the collaboration and expand the conversation she began at the Louvre to include current issues and events.
Unsure whether she would agree to speak with us on camera, we were ecstatic when, after seeing our initial cut, she warmly agreed to sit for our interviews. In 2015, with crucial help from Marvin Krislov, the project received substantial gifts from the Ford and Mellon Foundations, and nearly three years later, we now are proud to release The Foreigner’s Home.