Ebertfest

“Every movie lover has shared the melancholy experience of finding a film to truly love--and then discovering that most people have never heard of it.” - Roger Ebert at the Overlooked Film Festival in 1999

In April each year, a film festival is held at the Virginia Theater in Champaign that is dedicated to lesser-known and under-appreciated films. Organized by the University of Illinois’ College of Media, the festival began in 1998 and was originally titled Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival. The name changed to Ebertfest in 2008.

This festival was born out of another festival that culminated in March of 1997 called Cyberfest, honoring the fictional computer “Hal” from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In the novel and movie, Hal is said to hail from Urbana. Roger Ebert was invited to host the event and screening of the film. From the success in this festival, the College of Media, then the College of Communications, suggested holding an annual film event hosted by Ebert (Marcotte 2013).

The films are chosen by Roger Ebert and submissions for the festival are not accepted. The films shown may be major releases or lesser-known films. Along with the overlooked films, each year the festival includes a film in the 70 mm format, which Ebert has stated is an overlooked film process (Wikipedia 2013). The Virginia Theater owns two Norelco AA II projectors, which were originally specifically designed to run "Oklahoma!" and are now part of film history (Champaign Park District 2010). The festival also includes a silent film with live orchestral accompaniment, which is also considered by Ebert to be overlooked genre (Wikipedia 2013).

Special guests and filmmakers are invited to give panel presentations and answer audience questions during Ebertfest.

2013 marks the 15th anniversary of the festival.

Images

15th Annual Ebertfest, 2013

15th Annual Ebertfest, 2013

Ebertfest is a long standing tradition in Champaign-Urbana. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media. View File Details Page

2012 Ebertfest

2012 Ebertfest

Movie-goers await the next film screening at the 2012 Ebertfest. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

Roger Ebert and Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert

Roger Ebert and Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert

Roger Ebert and Chaz Hammelsmith Ebert arrive at the 2011 Ebertfest to a small crowd awaiting them. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

2012 Ebertfest

2012 Ebertfest

Eberfest in April is always at popular festival. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

2012 Ebertfest

2012 Ebertfest

A line forms outside of the Virginia Theater for a film screening at the 2012 Ebertfest. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

2013 Eberfest

2013 Eberfest

2013 marked the 15th Annual Eberfest. With the passing of Roger Ebert just 2 weeks before the start of the film festival, the events had many aspects that honored the late Pulitzer prize winning film critic. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

ON DEMAND: Movies without Theaters

ON DEMAND: Movies without Theaters

Panel presentations with invited guests, workshops, and special presentations have been part of Ebertfest since the very beginning. This panel on viewing movies at home or over the internet was part of the 2012 Ebertfest. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

2010 Eberfest

2010 Eberfest

The Virginia Theater's original marquee was too corroded for repair and a new one was installed before Eberfest 2011. This photo shows the original marquee. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

Ebertfest 2010

Ebertfest 2010

Festival attendees are treated to several films hand chosen by Roger Ebert that he felt deserved more recognition. Photo by Thompson-McClellan for the University of Illinois College of Media View File Details Page

Official Website:

http://www.ebertfest.com/

Cite this Page:

Kara Brehm, “Ebertfest,” ExploreCU, accessed May 27, 2017, http://explorecu.org/items/show/213.

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