Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” will open the 18th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, also known as Ebertfest. Chaz Ebert, the host of Ebertfest and the widow of the late Roger Ebert, and Nate Kohn, the festival director, made the announcement. Del Toro will attend as a guest of the festival, which runs April 13-17 in Champaign. Other festival films will be announced shortly.
“Del Toro is a director with a genuine visual sense, with a way of drawing us into his story and evoking the mood with the very look and texture of his shots,” Roger Ebert once wrote.
Del Toro is considered among the most creative and visionary artists of his generation, with a distinctive style showcased through his work as a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and author. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, del Toro first gained worldwide recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production “Cronos,” a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist. The film premiered at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Mercedes-Benz Award. It also won more than 20 international awards.
Every year, Chaz Ebert and the College of Media present Ebertfest, a five-day film festival, in Champaign-Urbana, which was Roger Ebert's hometown. The festival takes place at the historic Virginia Theater and continues Roger Ebert's mission to champion films that deserve a closer look.
"I am so excited to welcome Guillermo to Ebertfest,” Chaz Ebert said. “In addition to his talent as a filmmaker, he is one of those gracious and gregarious filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino who likes to discuss movies and often finds new insights. I know our audience will love him."
Major filmmakers, stars, historians, critics and film-lovers from all over the world come to experience this annual celebration that includes films from lists Roger Ebert drew up over the first 15 years of the festival, as well as others selected by Chaz Ebert and Kohn based on Roger Ebert’s established criteria for an Ebertfest film.
Festival passes are available for $150 plus processing, with 1,000 available. Passes can be purchased through the festival website, the theater website or the theater box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign. Individual tickets for each screening will go on sale April 1 for $15 and $13 for students and seniors.