Five additional films and a list of special guests have been added to the lineup for this year’s Roger Ebert’s Film Festival hosted by Chaz Ebert, also known as ‘Ebertfest,’ April 13-17 at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign and the U. of I.
The poster promoting the 2016 Roger Ebert's Film Festival, also known as Ebertfest, now in its 18 year.
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The five films are “Blow Out” (1981), a Brian De Palma film; “Body and Soul,” a 1925 silent film that marked the debut of actor Paul Robeson; “Force of Destiny” (2015), directed by Ebertfest favorite Paul Cox; “Northfork” (2003), directed by Michael Polish; and “The Third Man” (1949), a mystery-thriller starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, in a new 4K restoration.
Cox and Polish will be among the special guests for this year’s festival, along with Gil Robertson, president of the African American Film Critics Association; actress Nancy Allen; composer Renee Baker and the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, who will provide the musical accompaniment for “Body and Soul,” and film crew veteran Angela Allen.
Robertson is slated to lead a panel discussion on diversity in Hollywood, “an issue that will be in sharp focus at this year’s festival,” according to Chaz Ebert.
These films and guests join “Crimson Peak” (2015), announced earlier as this year’s festival opener, accompanied by director Guillermo del Toro as a guest. The remaining selections and schedule for the 12-film lineup, along with additional guests and panel discussions, will be announced at a later date.
The full news release announcing the films, including additional details and Roger Ebert commentary is online.
This year’s festival is the 18th annual, and each year it attracts major filmmakers, stars, historians, critics and film-lovers from all over the world. The films are selected from lists Roger Ebert drew up over the first 15 years of the festival, before his death in 2013, as well as others selected by his wife, Chaz Ebert, and festival director Nate Kohn, based on Roger’s established criteria.
All of the festival films will be screened at the 1,500-seat Virginia Theatre, a downtown Champaign movie palace opened in 1921 and restored to its early grandeur though extensive renovations prior to the 2013 festival. The festival is an event of the College of Media, and panel discussions and other events are held on the U. of I. campus.
Festival passes are available for $150, plus processing, with only 1,000 available. Passes can be purchased through the festival website, the theater website, or the theater box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign (217-356-9063).
Individual tickets for each screening will go on sale April 1, and are $15 ($13 for students and seniors).
Additional information can be found at the festival website.