IOW: All in the Ebertfest family

The sixteenth edition of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival – and the first without direct involvement from its namesake, who passed away a year ago April 4 – will launch formally next Wednesday, April 23, with a presentation of Steve James’ Roger Ebert film biography LIFE ITSELF, and unofficially on Tuesday, April 22, with a free show of the Seventies thriller THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE at Foellinger Auditorium on the University of Illinois Main Quad, to be hosted by the comedian and actor Patton Oswalt (YOUNG ADULT, THE KING OF QUEENS). At this stage, we don’t need to go overboard detailing the schedule, which we shared here, or the guests, who are introduced on the official “Ebertfest” Web site, although we will tell you briefly about the Illini Union-set panels next week. That said, we plan to send Confidential agents out into the Virginia Theatre field this year, tasked with experiencing Ebertfest amongst thousands of others and reporting back to us their insights and critical thoughts. Once we round up their writings, we will publish them on C-U Blogfidential for your perusal.

Until the films begin to play and the tears expectantly well up for the late film critic, we share with you this slickly produced peek into the 2013 event from the folks at Shatterglass Studios of Champaign. They do a fine job capturing the scope of Ebertfest and an ingrained compassion for all aspects of the show from its organizers as well as guests, the latter including Richard Linklater, Tilda Swinton, Haskell Wexler, and Shailene Woodley. Many people logging tech credits on this promotional short – we refuse to call it a “documentary,” sorry – are key individuals in the Champaign-Urbana film culture as illustrated last weekend during the New Art Film Festival. It’s too bad those same individuals and others in our milieu will never take center stage at the largest film festival in our own backyard, by far, with its Ebert-mandated trajectories and contributor pool in place for the foreseeable future.

~ Jason Pankoke

15th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival from Ebertfest on Vimeo.

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