Thursday, October 31, 2013

Festival Passes on Sale Tomorrow for Ebertfest 2014

Ebertfest 2013
In case you wondered if there would still be an Ebertfest without Roger Ebert, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, festival passes go on sale tomorrow, November 1, for everything to be shown at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign during the 16th annual Ebertfest from April 23 to 27, 2014. There will also be panel discussions and talks with people involved in the films, and those special events will take place at on-campus locations at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

U of I's College of Media is the official sponsor for Ebertfest, and anyone interested in helping out as a volunteer or offering a donation is asked to contact Mary Susan Britt, associate director of the festival, at 217-244-0552 or

Given the fact that Roger Ebert passed away last April and is so very much much missed, tickets for this event, something that meant a great deal to him, will probably sell extremely quickly. The Ebertfest organizers will offer a total of one thousand passes for sale, with individual tickets not available until April 1.

Roger Ebert was born and raised in Urbana, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Illinois. He was a sportswriter for the Champaign News-Gazette while still in high school, and he served as the editor of both his high school and college newspapers.His film criticism for the Chicago Sun-Times put him at the top of the nation's list of movie critics, and his partnership with Gene Siskel from the Chicago Tribune made TV stars and household names of both men.

Ebert was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He was awarded that prize in 1975.

Ebertfest began in 1999 as Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, with films ranging from Tron to Shiloh and Battleship Potemkin that first year. The "overlooked" part was dropped from the name beginning in 2008, and Roger Ebert's Film Festival is now most often referred to as simply Ebertfest.

The selections for the 2014 festival will not be announced till March. Last year, you would've found films like Days of Heaven, The Ballad of Narayama, and Julia, with star Tilda Swinton offering an "Ebertfest Dance-Along."

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