Champaign, IL (WCIA) A popular film festival is set to return following a pause last year. Happening in your community this Fall, Ebertfest! Chaz Ebert, host and co-founder of Ebertfest with her husband Roger Ebert share all the details.
Mrs. Ebert hosts The Roger Ebert Film Festival (Ebertfest) at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. And for over twenty years has attended and participated in film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, Chicago, Hawaii, Venice, The Floating Film Festival, South Africa, Karlovy Vary and many others, serving as the president of the IMAX jury at the Hawaii International Film Festival, writing official program notes for the Telluride Film Festival, and reporting by both print and video from the Cannes Film Festival.
Her civic and community passions include an interest in programs for women and children with an emphasis on education and the arts.
Mrs. Ebert is a Life Trustee of the Art Institute and currently serves on the boards of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, After School Matters, and The Tree of Life Foundation of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
This year some of the movies will carry over from our postponed 2020 festival, but the majority will be new selections and there will be the chance for the audience to have input as we will include an “audience choice” movie through a poll sometime soon as we make film selctions
New films are selected through discussion between festival director Nate Kohn and Chaz. But Roger left hundreds of films he wanted to see included in the festival too.
The festival has moved to a reserved seating model rather than a general admission show. When buying your ticket, patrons will get to choose their own seat that will be theirs for the festival. After the pandemic, we also went with a reduced capacity, not selling the full house, that people would feel more comfortable.
There are lots of festivals that show good movies, Ebertfest likes to think that we show good movies but that we inspire something good too. Roger Ebert’s idea about films was that they were empathy machines: they give us the chance to walk in another’s shoes and to see the world as they see it.
Film gives us the chance to bring people closer together and build communities – rather than creating the kinds of divisions between people we might see elsewhere. That is why there is such a family feel among the audience at the festival and why filmmakers say it is their favorite festival to visit.
Ebertfest will return Sept 8-11, 2021. Our 22nd festival, after we were postponed for the first time ever last year.
Passes are on sale for the 22nd Annual Ebertfest from June 7th. Passes are 200 dollars each and that includes all the Virginia Theatre’s fees and a $10 contribution to the theatre’s restoration fund. The pass covers at least 12 films and all the encounters with our filmmaker guests – so, for close to the price of a movie at a multiplex, you get a movie at a festival with the filmmakers present and the opportunity to talk to them about the movie you just watched. If you have a film fan in your family and friends, this festival is essential.