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Announcing the World Premiere of ROY'S WORLD: BARRY GIFFORD'S CHICAGO


Roy's World: Barry Gifford's Chicago, a documentary about the Chicago-born and bred writer (Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, City of Ghosts), has been selected to premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival (GFF20), February 26 - March 8, 2020. One of the UK’s leading film festivals, attendance at the festival tops 40,000 annually. Endorsed by legendary filmmaker David Lynch, the documentary offers an innovative way to contemplate a writer’s early life and influences. Director Rob Christopher and Producer Michael Glover Smith will both attend GFF20. The doc will screen at The Centre for Contemporary Arts‎ (CCA) on February 28 at 6pm and February 29 at 3:45pm.


In a series of autobiographical stories spanning more than 40 years, Gifford has chronicled the adventures of Roy, a boy coming of age on the gritty streets of 1950s Chicago. Directed by Rob Christopher (writer/director of Pause of the Clock), Roy's World interweaves Gifford's own recollections of his childhood with excerpts from the Roy stories narrated by Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, and Lili Taylor. Incorporating animated sequences created especially for the film, this impressionistic portrait of a vanished time and place spotlights rare archival materials as well as Gifford’s personal photographs and family home movies.


Legendary filmmaker David Lynch enthuses, “Barry Gifford is a killer fuckin’ writer and I’ve got a lot of respect for him. His writing is pure and minimal and it sparks things and gets your imagination going. Roy's World captures his childhood and that time in Chicago, and many other places. I really enjoyed watching it and then contemplating what goes on inside a person with this history. I really love that world and the things that can happen there.”


The author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into more than 30 languages, Barry Gifford writes distinctly American stories for readers around the globe. From screenplays, poetry, and librettos to his acclaimed Sailor and Lula novels (which include Wild at Heart), Gifford’s writing is as distinctive as it is difficult to classify. Born in Chicago, he also spent time in Havana, Key West, and New Orleans while growing up. Awarded Italy's Premio Brancati, he has also received honors from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation.


Glasgow Film Festival Co-director Allan Hunter calls Roy's World, "A really beguiling film," adding, "All the footage of wintry Chicago is great and I loved the animation as well. It reminds me at times of the work of Terence Davies and his documentary Of Time and the City."


The doc was produced by Christopher and Michael Glover Smith (Rendezvous in Chicago, Mercury in Retrograde). The soundtrack is the first original film score by acclaimed Chicago jazz composer and performer Jason Adasiewicz. The doc was edited by award-winning experimental filmmaker Marianna Milhorat (Sky Room) and features animated sequences by Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation co-director Lilli Carré and Kevin Eskew (Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot). John Otterbacher (Moving Parts) served as Consulting Producer.


Sales are being handled by Aspect Ratio’s Jordan Mattos.


The doc is also an Official Selection of the 6th Manchester Film Festival (MANIFF), screening March 10, 2020.


You can learn more about the film and watch its official trailer at roysworldfilm.com. Contact roysworldfilm@gmail.com for more information, including interview availability.


Financial support has been provided by IFP Chicago, with additional support from an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency with federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.


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Mix for reading about Roy.

I created a Spotify playlist that will instantly transport you to the world of Barry Gifford's stories, featuring many tunes that he references in his book. Crank it up!

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