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Joy: My memories of Ebertfest | Chaz’s Journal

Roger wrote these words after being in and out of hospital beds for a year. It amazed and delighted me that even after living with catastrophic illness he was inspired to end his statement thus: “WE MUST CONTRIBUTE JOY TO THE WORLD. THIS IS TRUE WHETHER OUR PROBLEMS, OUR HEALTH, OUR CIRCUMSTANCES . ” One of Roger’s sources of joy was our film festival, which was originally called “Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival”, and now affectionately called Ebertfest.

As we now know, the Ebertfest and most other in-person gatherings for 2020 have been canceled and we have entered a period of lockdown and quarantine. We slowly open up again and come out of this time, but it still feels almost amazing looking back at the Ebertfest videos and seeing people standing in crowds talking, sitting right next to each other, hugging each other. in arms and shake hands. It also represents the time when half of our directors at Ebertfest were women: Ava Duverany, Julie Dash, Amma Asante, Martha Coolidge, Sherri Springer Berman and Catherine Bainbridge. We also had a street party where we had a band, danced and ate ice cream. The audience was so grateful. It was just happy. This video gave me a burst of joy, an untamed joy, so I wanted to share it with you.

Besides, Passes for the 2021 Roger Ebert Film Festival, or “Ebertfest”, will go on sale Tuesday, June 1 on the official websites of Ebertfest and its main room, The Virginia Theater, 203 W. Park Avenue, Champaign, Illinois. They can also be purchased by calling the theater box office at 217-356-9063. Hope to see you there. – Chaz Ebert


Isabelle Huppert and Michael Barker: Photo by Timothy Hiatt, courtesy of Ebertfest.

Former festival visitors include Nancy Allen, Steven Apkon, Ramin Bahrani, Renée Baker, Michael Barker, Seymour Bernstein, Charles Burnett, Michael Butler, Veronica Cartwright, Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Cox, Billy Crudup, Hugh Dancy, Guillermo del Toro, Caleb Deschanel, Keir Dullea, Robert Forster, Gina Gershon, Andrew Harvey, Michael Hausman, Werner Herzog, Isabelle Huppert, Norman Jewison, Charlie Kaufman, Maja Komorowska, Kris Kristofferson, Neil LaBute, Brie Larson, Norman Lear, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Kasi Lemmons, Richard Linklater, Guy Maddin, John Malkovich, Andrew Miano, Bennett Miller, Gregory Nava, Norman Lear, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeff Nichols, Bill Nighy, Patton Oswalt, Chazz Palminteri, Rebecca Parrish, Father Michael Pfleger , Michael Polish, Alan Polsky, James Ponsoldt, Alex Proyas, Bob Rafelson, Alan Rickman, Gil Robertson, Gary Ross, Paul Schrader, Jason Segel, Michael Shannon, Timothy Spall, Oliver Stone, Tilda Swinton, Rita Taggart, Anna Thomas, Jennifer Til ly, Davi d Warner, Paul Weitz, Haskell Wexler, Scott Wilson, Irwin Winkler, Shailene Woodley and Terry Zwigoff.

Chaz Ebert awarding the Golden Thumb to actress Maja Komorowska (“Year of the Quiet Sun”) with her grandson Jerzy Tyszkiewicz: Photo by Timothy Hiatt, courtesy of Ebertfest.

Festival passes cover all screenings during the festival, which take place in the Virginia Theater, a restored cinema palace in downtown Champaign. Related discussions and panel discussions will take place at the Hyatt Place hotel in downtown Champaign and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The programming of films, guests and other events will be announced several weeks before the festival.

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