Terry Gilliam is one of the uncompromising giants of cinema – individualist, an outstanding visionary, a member of the famous comedy group Monty Python. He has created numerous fun, absurd and full of fantasy films, won two BAFTA awards, as well as four awards from the Venice Film Festival, has been nominated for Academy Award and Golden Globe as well as many other prestigious film awards.
Terrence Vance Gilliam was born in Minnesota on 22 November 1940. When he was 12 years old, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Terry had a close encounter with the Hollywood reality. After high school Gilliam began studying physics, later graduated from Occidental college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. After graduation he spent some time working in a magazine – he drew and dealt with the design of the publication. His story there ended as he joined the National Guard. The following years he was living on social benefits, touring Europe on a motorcycle, before the big meeting with the advertising business after he returned back to the States. During the political turmoil in the ‘60s, Terry Gilliam seriously feared that he could become a terrorist, so he decided to leave the United States. He went to Britain and with the help of John Cleese began working in children’s TV show. It was work in television that later on introduced him to the other partners of the great Monty Python.
The Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV program turned the young men into the most popular comedians in the UK, while Gilliam was credited as an animator. He was responsible for the overall visual style of the comedy group TV appearances, and later co-directed and was drawing cartoons for their films. Terry Gilliam appeared also as an actor. 1975 saw the Monty Python and the Holy Grail (co-director Terry Jones) debut on the big screen. In the 80s Gilliam filmed one of his most famous films. The Fisher King (1991) was his first commercial production to be accepted in Hollywood. The last film (so far!) by the famous film director is Zero Theorem (2013).
”The reason I do not watch so many movies is because I do not surprise myself anymore. I loved the movies because they opened doors to the worlds that I never imagined I would see. This happens very, very rarely now... Hollywood studios perceive people in America as a dumb audience. They try to lower the standards as much as possible in order to reach a wider and dull audience. I am continuing to oppose this and I want to believe in the viewers‘ intelligence. But if you keep feeding the people with baby food long enough they will eventually begin to like it...“, says Terry Gilliam.
Terry Gilliam was a special guest at 20th Sofia International Film Festival and was presented with Sofia Municipality Award for his contribution to the art of cinema.