CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The 19th annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival will show the French thriller “Elle” and the documentary “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” as two of its 12 films, organizers announced today.
Coming with those films to “Ebertfest,” April 19-23 in Champaign, will be guests Isabelle Huppert, Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee for her role in “Elle”; and multiple Emmy Award winner Lear, the subject of the documentary, along with its producer Brent Miller, and directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.
All guests will participate in Q&As following the screenings of their respective films.
The other films in the schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
According to Chaz Ebert, co-founder and host of the festival, “Lear was responsible for placing more African-American characters in prime-time network series than any other single person in the history of television.” Among those series were “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” “Maude” and “The Jeffersons.” He also created the groundbreaking “All in the Family.”
“His insistence on using comedy to tackle real issues of the day such as racism, abortion and feminism changed the face of television,” said Chaz Ebert, Roger’s widow.
The 2016 documentary looks at Lear’s life and achievements, and features interviews with Mel Brooks, George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Carl and Rob Reiner, Russell Simmons, Jon Stewart, Esther Rolle and John Amos, among others.
“Elle,” directed by Paul Verhoeven, is described as a psychological thriller about a successful and aggressive businesswoman who is attacked in her home by an unknown assailant and then sets out to track him down. Sheila O’Malley, in a four-star review on RogerEbert.com, describes it as “a high-wire act without a net ... a rape-revenge-ensemble-comedy-thriller-stalker mashup, if you can even picture that.”
Roger Ebert died in 2013, but Ebertfest includes films from lists he drew up over the festival’s first 15 years, as well as others selected by Chaz Ebert and festival director Nate Kohn, based on Roger’s established criteria.
Ebertfest is an event held in collaboration with the College of Media at the University of Illinois. Roger Ebert was a 1964 U. of I. journalism graduate and an adjunct professor of journalism.
Festival passes covering all 12 screenings are available for $150 plus processing, and for the first time, festival-goers will receive a 15 percent discount when they purchase a four-pack. Also, a small number of U. of I. student passes will be made available at $100 each.
All passes can be purchased through the Ebertfest or Virginia Theatre websites, or at the Virginia Theatre box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, 217-356-9063.
Tickets for individual movies can be purchased starting April 1, at $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors.
For additional information, visit www.ebertfest.com.