TV special takes CENTER stage

The opening session of the eighteenth annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, presented by the College of Media at the University of Illinois, will ensure a packed house at the Virginia Theatre later tonight, Wednesday, April 13, as it features director Guillermo del Toro in person and his period supernatural romance CRIMSON PEAK on the silver screen. Marking the occasion is yet another documentary-slash-promotion about the popular Champaign event, this one directed by Lisa Bralts and Tim Meyers for WILL/Illinois Public Media and titled EBERTFEST 2016: CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE. New interviews recall the genesis and philosophy behind “Ebertfest” as well as preview the selections and goals for the current year with a stress on diversity and inclusiveness. Speaking on behalf of the big show are executive producer and host Chaz Ebert, assistant festival director Casey Ludwig, Media dean Jan Slater, Virginia Theatre director Steven Bentz, “long time” attendee Ellen Warmbrunn, Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and film critic Richard Roeper, and UI Public Affairs video producer Anne Lukeman. Meyers and Bralts add visual flair to the special with select film clips and sweeping crowd shots recorded at prior festivals by Shatterglass Studios.

WILL-TV premiered EBERTFEST 2016 last week on Monday, April 4, and subsequently uploaded it for free Internet viewing, so we embed it below for your convenience and enjoyment; Bralts and Meyers discuss the creation of the program with WILL Radio’s Jeff Bossert in a short audio clip linked to this post.

Eleven additional features and five panel discussions follow CRIMSON PEAK through midday on Sunday, April 17, after which Ebertfest will wind down for the spring.

~ Jason Pankoke

Ebertfest 2016 from Illinois Public Media on Vimeo.

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