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Loyola screens documentary on life of John Kennedy Toole

Loyola press release - November 1, 2010

"John Kennedy Toole: The Omega Point," by Joe Sanford

The tumultuous life of author John Kennedy Toole will be explored in a documentary film by Joe Sanford, “John Kennedy Toole: The Omega Point,” at Loyola University New Orleans on Friday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium.

The documentary traces the roots of Toole’s New Orleans family with a neatly woven narrative told through interviews with associates and scholars seeking the truth to his life story. A panel discussion about Toole’s life and death will follow. It will feature Joel Fletcher, Toole biographer; Carmine Palumbo, Toole scholar; Cory MacLauchlin, Toole biographer; and Sanford. Fletcher, the author of “Ken and Thelma,” will sign copies of his book after the event.

Toole is the author of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “A Confederacy of Dunces.” Sadly, he did not enjoy the acclaim his work received, having committed suicide in 1969. The novel was published in 1980 thanks to the backing of celebrated author and Loyola professor Walker Percy. Arguably the finest attempt ever to reveal the soul of New Orleans, “Dunces” has been translated into 17 languages and is considered a classic in modern American literature.

“John Kennedy Toole: The Omega Point” is produced and mastered in high definition with a custom music score by Jay Weigel. According to Sanford, the documentary combines representational photography, rare historical films, newsreels, original music and traditional New Orleans music to give the story a unique dimension. This combination peels back the layers of the riddle that is New Orleans, the mystery that lies at the center of the author’s life.

“His friends wonder, the scholars speculate and the film explores,” said Sanford. “One thing is certain in this story; in one fatal moment the world lost a great observer of mankind, a brilliant author in his prime and a writer with the potential to tell the story of the mysterious South.”

Sanford is the owner and president of Pelican Pictures, Inc. Pelican produces commercials for regional and national clients, corporate marketing, and documentary and feature films.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call (504) 861-5882.