At its best, Blaze feels like a cinematic translation of not just Blaze Foley’s life but his music, anchored by two incredibly likable, lived-in performances.
The 17th annual installment of Ebertfest, the film festival founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert and sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Media, is slated to run from Wednesday, April 15th, through Sunday, April 19th, next year. Passes for the festival will go on sale the day after Halloween—Saturday, November 1st—and are available at the official sites of Ebertfest and its main venue, The Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, IL. They can also be purchased by calling the theater box office at 217-356-9063. Passes cost $145 and cover every screening scheduled for the festival. Only one thousand passes will be sold. Panel discussions and other related festival events are free and will be held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Presiding over Ebertfest are festival director Nate Kohn and host Chaz Ebert.
From rare archival prints of iconic classics to the latest and greatest works of modern cinema, Ebertfest's lineup has it all. Though the official titles for 2015 will not be announced until several weeks prior to the festival, cinephiles can simply search through the archives to get a sampling of the phenomenal guests and screenings offered each year. Past visitors to the festival include Ramin Bahrani, Veronica Cartwright, Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Cox, Billy Crudup, Keir Dullea, Robert Forster, Werner Herzog, Norman Jewison, Charlie Kaufman, Kris Kristofferson, Neil LaBute, Brie Larson, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Guy Maddin, John Malkovich, Bennett Miller, Tim Blake Nelson, Bill Nighy, Patton Oswalt, Alex Proyas, Bob Rafelson, Alan Rickman, Paul Schrader, Michael Shannon, Timothy Spall, Oliver Stone, David Warner, Haskell Wexler, Scott Wilson, Shailene Woodley and Terry Zwigoff. One of the festival's most beloved return guests, Tilda Swinton, led audience members in an unforgettable conga line in honor of Roger mere weeks after his death in 2013.
Join in the Ebertfest conga line next year and meet filmmakers, critics and movie buffs from around the world. There simply isn't a cinematic labor of love quite like it. Individual tickets for each screening will go on sale Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, and are $14 ($12 for students and seniors). Visitors interested in becoming volunteers or sponsors can contact the festival's associate director, Mary Susan Britt, at 217-244-0552 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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