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Ebertfest 2015: The Full Schedule

Ebertfest 2015 is almost upon us! In preparation for the festival scheduled from Wednesday, April 15th through Sunday, April 19th at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, IL, is pleased to present a complete day-by-day breakdown of the screenings and special guests scheduled to attend. Click on the site for the critic quoted, and you will be directed to a full review of each film. All panels are held in the Pine Lounge of the Illini Union at Urbana, IL.

Wednesday, April 15

7pm: "Goodbye to Language 3D"

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Special guest: actress Héloïse Godet 

"Watching it is, I would imagine, as close as we'll get to being able to be Godard, sitting there thinking, or dreaming. It's a documentary of a restless mind."—Matt Zoller Seitz, Roger

9:30pm: Tribute to Harold Ramis

Special guests: Erica Ramis, producers Trevor Albert and Laurel Ward

"What amazes me about ["Groundhog Day"] is that Murray and Ramis get away with it. They never lose their nerve. [...] Certainly I underrated it in my original review; I enjoyed it so easily that I was seduced into cheerful moderation. But there are a few films, and this is one of them, that burrow into our memories and become reference points. When you find yourself needing the phrase This is like 'Groundhog Day' to explain how you feel, a movie has accomplished something."—Roger Ebert,

Thursday, April 16

9am: "Challenging Stigma Through the Arts" Panel

Moderated by Eric Pierson

10:15am: "Ebert Center @ Illinois: Storytelling Meets Engineering" Panel

Moderated by Dean Jan Slater

1pm: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

Directed by Roy Andersson

Special guest: producer Johan Carlsson

"Each of these shots serves as a nearly self-contained comic vignette, like a cross between a 'Where’s Waldo' cartoon and a Gregory Crewdson photograph, and the best way to approach them is as you might a large-canvas painting or a Jacques Tati film: Study the faces, soak up the details, allow the eye to wander and the mind to free-associate. Where other directors seek out exceptional moments, Andersson endeavors to capture the poetry of the mundane."—Peter Debruge, Variety

4pm: Moving Midway

Directed by Godfrey Cheshire

Special guest: director Godfrey Cheshire

"Movie critics are always asked if they've ever wanted to make a movie of their own. A handful, like Peter Bogdanovich and Rod Lurie, have had success with features. Others, like Todd McCarthy, have made good documentaries. Godfrey Cheshire's first film follows the first rule of both kinds of films: Start with a strong story that you feel a personal connection with. His story grows stronger, and the connections deeper."—Roger Ebert,

8:30pm: The End of the Tour

Directed by James Ponsoldt

Special guests: director James Ponsoldt and actor Jason Segel

"'The End of the Tour' is very comparable to Richard Linklater’s 'Before' movies in the way that its greatest pleasures come not from narrative but discussion, and in how both films present chance encounters as life-shaping events."—Brian Tallerico,

Friday, April 17

9am: "Filmmaking in the Digital Age" Panel

Moderated by Nate Kohn

10:15am: "Critic's Forum" Panel

Moderated by Godfrey Cheshire

1pm: Girlhood

Directed by Céline Sciamma

"It takes an intuitive and devoted filmmaker like Sciamma to go beneath the surface of 'girlhood,' to remove the normal trappings, and to look at all of the different forces and influences in play. 'Girlhood,' her latest, is a powerful and entertaining film about a gang of girls, and what friendship means, the protection it provides."—Sheila O'Malley,

4pm: The Son of the Sheik

Directed by George Fitzmaurice

Special guests: Alloy Orchestra

"Rudolph Valentino not only is the dashing youth of the Arabian plains but he also plays his father, the sheik. [...] Some exceptionally fine photography, especially the desert scenes, and the excellent acting of the supporting cast help to make 'The Son of the Sheik' an outstanding success."Variety

8:30pm: A Bronx Tale

Directed by Robert De Niro

Special guests: actor/writer Chazz Palminteri, producer Jon Kilik

"'A Bronx Tale' is a very funny movie sometimes, and very touching at other times. It is filled with life and colorful characters and great lines of dialogue, and De Niro, in his debut as a director, finds the right notes as he moves from laughter to anger to tears."—Roger Ebert,

Saturday, April 18

11am: Wild Tales

Directed by Damián Szifron

Special guests: actress Julieta Zylberberg, casting director Javier Braier

"Perhaps the best multi-story feature this reviewer has ever seen. [...] Each of the six stories here, which average about 20 minutes, is thoroughly enthralling, and all are united by a mordant black humor. Connected thematically in dealing with revenge and retribution, each segment sets up expectations that its successor ingeniously fulfills or surpasses."—Godfrey Cheshire,

2pm: Ida

Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

"[Agata] Trzebuchowska portrays each step of her character’s internal journey with such unmannered grace that it never hits a single false note. When a ritual that she has long participated in suddenly strikes her as amusing, the soft chuckle Trzebuchowska elicits is tantamount to an earthquake. That scene alone makes this film my favorite of 2014."—Matt Fagerholm,

5pm: The Motel Life

Directed by Alan and Gabe Polsky

Special guests: co-director Alan Polsky, actor Stephen Dorff

"The directors and the cast, through a miracle of tone, mood, and emotion, have made a film that feels true, that is sweet and sharp and unbearable. Every frame feels right, every choice feels thought-out, considered. All adds up to a heartbreaking whole."—Sheila O'Malley,

9pm: 99 Homes

Directed by Ramin Bahrani

Special guests: director Ramin Bahrani, actor Noah Lomax

"The film hums along, perfectly paced and driven by great performances all around. It’s also something of a call to arms, an urgent instruction to pay closer to attention to one of the most defining issues of our time: economic inequality."—Brian Tallerico,

Sunday, April 19

11am: Seymour: An Introduction

Directed by Ethan Hawke

Special guests: pianist Seymour Bernstein, activist Andrew Harvey

"One way to think of 'Seymour: An Introduction' is as the anti-'Whiplash,' last year’s indie darling and Academy Award nominee about a sadistic music teacher torturing a gifted young drummer. Where that film was toxic, pessimistic and wildly overblown, 'Seymour: An Introduction' gives viewers a soaring, sublime and enduringly meaningful glimpse of a man who is undoubtedly the real thing."—Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post


Thursday, April 16

9am: Challenging Stigma Through the Arts

Moderated by Eric Pierson

Panelists: Sheila O'Malley, Omer Mozaffar, Matt Zoller Seitz, Elaine Shoungin, Joseph Omo-sagie, Mimi Dibanzilua, Sophie Illunga and Tracy Parsons.

10:15am: Ebert Center @ Illinois: Storytelling Meets Engineering

Moderated by Dean Jan Slater

Panelists: Chaz Ebert, Julie Turnock, Donna Cox, Jason Brett, Thea Flaum, Dan Aronson and Richard Leskosky.

Friday, April 17

9am: Filmmaking in the Digital Age

Moderated by Nate Kohn

Panelists: Johan Carlsson, Heloise Godet, Zak Piper, Jason Segel, Godfrey Cheshire, Javier Braier, Julieta Zylberberg, George Nicholas, Trevor Albert and Darrien Gipson.

10:15am: Critic's Forum

Moderated by Godfrey Cheshire

Panelists: Scott Foundas, Richard Roeper, Michael Phillips, Susan Wloszczyna, Brian Tallerico, Nell Minow, Matt Zoller Seitz, Sam Fragoso, Glenn Kenny and Rebecca Theodore-Vachon.

For more information on the festival, visit the official Ebertfest site.

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