Editing ROY’S WORLD has been a blast.

When we started editing Roy’s World: Barry Gifford’s Chicago, my editor Marianna Milhorat lived in Pilsen, right here in Chicago on the south side. That’s about a 45-minute trip via CTA from my own apartment. No big deal.

But this project has entailed a very long-term commitment. And needless to say, that means you have to make adjustments. In the midst of editing, for a variety of professional and personal reasons, Marianna up and moved to Montreal. No longer a 45-minute trip!

At first I was a little worried about how that long-distance arrangement was going to affect the project creatively. But over the course of many months we evolved a workflow that was surprisingly successful. The necessity of having that back and forth with built-in pauses (she’d send me a new cut, I’d meditate on it, dash off some notes, and then she’d recut things and send it back, etc.) actually encouraged us to be more thoughtful. Sometimes being forced to slow down is a good thing; it opens up a space for unexpected ideas and solutions. It’s happened on this project more times than I can count.

But as you get real close to end, there comes a point when you just have to be in the same room together. Thus at the end of February I found myself in the peculiar situation of flying to Montreal for five days of intensive editing of a documentary about 1950s-era Chicago. (I rewatched Robert Altman’s Quintet in preparation of course.)

Marianna Milhorat and I at a lumière collective in Montreal, 3 March 2019. Photo by Jason Halprin.

We were graciously hosted by la lumière collective, a space with a very mellow vibe and friendly people. It ended up being exactly the sort of neutral place we needed to concentrate on the movie.

To cut to the chase, it was an amazingly productive trip and … we might have even reached picture lock? Stay tuned.

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