It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than three months since my film Roy’s World: Barry Gifford’s Chicago made its debut at the Glasgow Film Festival. It kind of feels like a hundred years ago, doesn’t it? The world of film exhibition, along with every other aspect of “normal” life, has been in a state of suspended animation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But filmmakers and film festivals have been doing their best to counter adversity with innovation.
I’m really thrilled to announce that Roy’s World: Barry Gifford’s Chicago will be included in an online edition of the Cheltenham International Film Festival, streaming on Friday, June 12. What made us decide to participate in such an endeavor? For starters, although sitting in a cinema with a big screen is obviously the way I’d prefer everyone to experience the film, that’s not feasible right now; but movies, and the way they broaden our horizons while simultaneously refreshing our brains, are in my view more important than ever. (Bingeing great movies is one of the things that has helped me stay in one piece these last several months!) I still want to find ways to get the film out there.
Secondly, the festival organizers have taken a number of steps to replicate a festival experience. Tickets for Roy’s World are on sale now. However: only UK viewers can watch the film (geoblocking is in place to disable all non-UK purchases), there are a limited number of tickets available, and access to the film expires 48 hours after purchase. It’s by no means the same as seeing it in person at a film festival, but it’s still a really cool way to share the film! Friday, June 12 is the official screening date; that evening, ticketholders are invited to participate in a live Q & A webcast, featuring myself along with Barry Gifford, and contribute questions via chat.
I really hope that folks in the UK will join us for this exciting experiment in virtual cinema. And to all those in the US who have been patiently waiting to see the film: stay tuned …