CHAMPAIGN – April 21, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today declared “Ebertfest Day” in Illinois to honor the legendary film critic Roger Ebert and his annual festival to showcase films that have been overlooked by the public, film critics or distributors.
“Ebertfest represents one of the best showcases of cinematic art in our nation, and is known worldwide for its celebration of great films that might otherwise be overlooked,” Governor Quinn said Wednesday during the opening of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, better known as “Ebertfest.” “I salute Roger Ebert for his lifelong passion for movies, and for his unflagging work, through Ebertfest, to make sure that worthy films find an audience.”
Roger Ebert and his wife and partner Chaz are hosting the 12th Annual Ebertfest, held every year in the historic Virginia Theatre, where Ebert watched films as a child growing up in Urbana and later as a journalism student at the University of Illinois.
Unlike most film festivals, Ebertfest does not accept submissions. The films are selected from among the films Roger Ebert sees in the normal course of his reviewing work, and highlight the best of the year’s overlooked films. The festival typically features 13 films each year, always including one film in the 70 mm format and one silent film with live orchestral accompaniment.
Roger Ebert began his newspaper career as a sportswriter for the Champaign News-Gazette and his high school paper The Echo. As a University of Illinois student, he began writing movie reviews for The Daily Illini, eventually rising to editor-in-chief of the award-winning campus newspaper.
In 1967, he became a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, a position he holds to this day. In 1975, Ebert won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, the first film critic to be so honored. Today his reviews are syndicated in more than 200 newspapers around the world.
He gained worldwide exposure when, along with beloved fellow critic Gene Siskel, he launched a syndicated movie review television show and became forever associated with the “Thumbs” rating system. Now with dozens of books and thousands of reviews to his name, he continues to write movie reviews each week and personally manages his critically acclaimed blog, “Roger Ebert’s Journal.”
Ebertfest hosts filmmakers, actors and critics from around the world who sit on panels following each film and answer questions from the audience. For the first time, these panels will be streamed online this year.
This year’s festival will feature: “Pink Floyd The Wall”, “You, The Living,” “Munyurangabo,” “The New Age,” “Apocalypse Now/Redux” (in 70mm) “Departures,” “Man With a Movie Camera,” “Synecdoche, New York,” “I Capture the Castle,” “Vincent: A Life in Color,” “Trucker,” “Barfly,” and “Song Sung Blue.”