Hawaii and the Hawaiian International Film Festival had a special place in Roger's heart. Hawaii is where Roger and Chaz fell in love. And Roger had close connections to the HIFF over the years. Monday, October 14, the Festival pays tribute to Roger with a special panel discussion entitled "Mahalo, Roger! A Tribute to Roger Ebert." Speakers will include Chaz Ebert, who is on this year's Narrative Jury, Ebertfest director Nate Kohn, HIFF executive director Chuck Boller, HIFF founder Jeannette Paulson-Hereniko and other friends who will convene and talk about Roger, his legacy and his many visits to HIFF.
Here's what they have to say about the event, and about Roger:
The incomparable Roger Ebert changed the way we watched movies. Bringing film criticism from the ivory tower to our living rooms every week with his partner Gene Siskel on the PBS show Sneak Previews, and his tens of thousands of reviews in the Chicago Sun Times and his award-winning film essays and countless books, and through his embracing of the internet and social media, Roger was a true cultural worker, promoting not only movies, but also the way we see life through movies.
His frequent visits to HIFF also not only legitimized the event as a "festival of record" of new Pacific Rim cinema, Roger absolutely fell in love with Hawaii and the aloha spirit. Soon enough, he and his new wife, Chaz, were making annual trips to HIFF, enjoying the films but also making lifelong friends here. From running his shot-by-shot master classes "Democracy in the Dark" to accompanying Quentin Tarantino to reopen the Palace Theatre in Hilo, to his last visit in 2010 to receive the Vision in Film Award for his life work in film criticism, Roger will forever be a part of HIFF's history.