Champaign-Urbana may not be Hollywood, but the twin cities has a bustling film scene. From filming independent films to hosting Ebertfest each April, C-U has quite a story to tell about its contributions to the film industry.
Several graduates of the University of Illinois have gone on to win Academy Awards and nominations, including Ang Lee, class of 1980 and Chris Landreth, class of 1984. Others have found fame on the small screen, such as Nick Offerman, class of 1993, Barbara Bain, and Roger E. Young.
Roger Ebert, an Urbana native, was a renowned film critic who wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times and was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize in Criticism in 1975.
Over the years, Champaign-Urbana has been home to over twenty five theaters. The popular and newly restored Virginia Theater hosts Ebertfest every April.
In addition, the very first sound on film was recorded at the University of Illinois by Joseph Tykociner in 1922, one year before the presentation of Phonofilm in 1923 – the direct predecessor to sound films today.
Take a stroll through the feature players of Champaign-Urbana in C-U At the Movies!