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Panel discussions, other events, set for Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival

Craig Chamberlain, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Final plans are in place for the eighth annual Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, or “Ebertfest,” coming April 26-30 to Champaign-Urbana.

Two panel discussions, a mini-seminar on filmmaking, and a book signing by Ebert have been added to the previously announced schedule of 12 film screenings.

The schedule of added events, all free and open to the public:

Thursday, April 27

10-11:30 a.m. – Panel discussion “The Festival Circuit: Launching Pad or Dead End for Independent Films,” moderated by Ebert, in the Pine Lounge of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.

Friday, April 28

10-11:30 a.m. – Panel discussion “Not Playing at a Theater Near You,” moderated by Eric Pierson, a professor of communication studies at the University of San Diego, in the Pine Lounge.

10-11:30 a.m. – Book signing by Ebert, for his books “The Great Movies II” and “Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2006,” on the second floor of the Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., Champaign.

Saturday, April 29

9-11:30 a.m. – Mini-seminar “The Principles of Independent Filmmaking,” conducted by Michael Wiese, a filmmaker, author and publisher, in the General Lounge of the Illini Union.

Tickets for 11 of the 12 films, all to be shown at the Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign, went on sale April 3 through the theater’s box office and were sold out by noon, according to Mary Susan Britt, assistant festival director.

No advance tickets are required for the screening of “Millions,” the free family matinee at noon on April 29.

The 1,000 festival passes, covering all 12 screenings, were sold out on Jan. 20, two months before the films were announced.

Those wanting to see an individual film, but unable to get a ticket, have the option of waiting in line for a rush ticket prior to the film, Britt said. Shortly before the film begins, any empty seats will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Updates on the festival will be posted on the festival Web site.