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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Guillermo Del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' to Open Ebertfest 2016

Guillermo Del Toro’s "Crimson Peak" will open the 18th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, also known as Ebertfest, hosted by Chaz Ebert. Guillermo Del Toro will be attending as a guest of the festival, which runs from Wednesday, April 13th, through Sunday, April 17th in Champaign, Illinois. Other festival films will be announced shortly.

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“Del Toro is a director with a genuine visual sense, with a way of drawing us into his story and evoking the mood with the very look and texture of his shots,” Roger Ebert once wrote of Del Toro.  

Guillermo del Toro is among the most creative and visionary artists of his generation, whose distinctive style is showcased through his work as a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and author. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, del Toro first gained worldwide recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production “Cronos,” a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist. The film premiered at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Mercedes-Benz Award. It also won over 20 international awards, including eight Ariel Awards from the Mexican Academy of Film, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and the Golden Ariel. 

In "Crimson Peak," after marrying the charming and seductive Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), young Edith (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself swept away to his remote gothic mansion in the English hills. Also living there is Lady Lucille (Jessica Chastain), Thomas' alluring sister and protector of her family's dark secrets. Able to communicate with the dead, Edith tries to decipher the mystery behind the ghostly visions that haunt her new home. As she comes closer to the truth, Edith may learn that true monsters are made of flesh and blood.  

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Every year, Roger and Chaz Ebert, in association with the University of Illinois College Of Media, present Ebertfest, a 5-day film festival, in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Roger's home town. The festival takes place at the historic Virginia Theater and continues Roger’s mission to champion films that deserve a closer look. 

"I am so excited to welcome Guillermo to Ebertfest,” said Chaz Ebert. “In addition to his talent as a filmmaker, he is one of those gracious and gregarious filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino who likes to discuss movies and often finds new insights. I know our audience will love him."

Major filmmakers, stars, historians, critics and film-lovers from all over the world come to experience this annual celebration that includes films from lists Roger drew up over the first 15 years of the festival, as well as others selected by Chaz Ebert and Festival Director Nate Kohn based on Roger’s established criteria for an Ebertfest film.

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Festival passes are available for $150, plus processing with only one thousand being available. Passes can be purchased through the festival website, the theater website, or the theater box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign (217-356-9063). Individual tickets for each screening will go on sale Friday, April 1st, and are $15 ($13 for students and seniors).

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