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Ebertfest 2024 Announces Full Lineup, With Guests Including Eric Roberts, Mariel Hemingway, Larry Karaszewski, and More

This week marks the 25th anniversary of Ebertfest, the film festival Roger and I co-founded in conjunction with the College of Media at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. lt is  hosted by me and Festival Director, Dr Nathaniel ("Nate") Kohn, every year at the Virginia Theatre. Nate has been the Festival Director since year one! This year we are joined by Festival Coordinator Molly Cornyn. 

 April 17th to April 20th, this year's fest spans thirteen features both old and new, one panel, and more than twenty-five guests and presenters, including Filmmakers,  Film Critics and Film Scholars.

  Here is a quick preview of what you can expect from the fest's quarter-century milestone. See you at the movies! Chaz Ebert 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17

6:30pm - STAR 80 (1983): Bob Fosse's haunting chronicle of Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten, and her tragic murder at the hands of husband Jeff Snider.

Guests: Actors Eric Roberts in person, and Mariel Hemingway (by satellite).

THURSDAY, APRIL 18

9:30am - LITTLE INDIAN GIRL COLLECTIVE PANEL: A panel from the new women's filmmaking collective, about the power of women, Indigenous and two-spirit artists to bring about revolution through art.

Special Guests: Panelists Gingger Shankar and Tara Houska

11:00am - CONDUCTING LIFE (2022): The improbable journey of conductor Roderick Cox and his quest to succeed in the highly competitive field of orchestral conducting.

Special Guests: Producer-Director Diane Moore and Conductor Roderick Cox

11:00am - THE LIGHT OF TRUTH: RICHARD HUNT'S MONUMENT TO IDA B. WELLS (2024): This documentary weaves together sculptor Richard Hunt’s process and life story with that of civil rights crusader, suffragist, and antilynching activist Ida B. Wells.

Special Guests: Producer-Director Rana Segal, Producer Laurie Little, Camera/Producer Vincent Singleton, and Grandson of Ida B. Wells Dan Duster

3:00pm - STONY ISLAND (1978): This charming 1978 music drama charts the rise of a fictional R&B band in Chicago, complete with gorgeous cinematography of the city at the time courtesy of Tak Fujimoto.

Special Guests: Director Andrew Davis, Actor-Musician Richard Davis, Musicians Isaiah Robinson, Larry Gray, Steve Eisen, Tony Cazeau, Wayne Stewart

8:00pm - THE TEACHERS' LOUNGE (2023): When one of her students is suspected of theft, teacher Carla Nowak decides to get to the bottom of the matter.

Special Guest: Sony Pictures Classics Co-President and Co-Founder Michael Barker

FRIDAY, APRIL 19

9:00AM - COOKIE'S FORTUNE (1999): Robert Altman's unassuming ensemble comedy about the quirky denizens of a small Mississippi town, featuring Glenn Close, Charles S. Dutton, Liv Tyler, and more.

1:30PM - ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004): For its twentieth anniversary, Ebertfest screens Michel Gondry's sci-fi romantic fantasia, about a separating couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) who choose to erase their memories of each other through experimental technology.

4:30PM - LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING (2023): The soul sensation gets a suitably kaleidoscopic look at his life and hits, with an emphasis on Little Richard's queerness and how it informed his flamboyant look and life.

Special Guest: Producer-Director Lisa Cortes

9:30PM - THE BEST MAN (1999): Malcolm D. Lee's charming Black ensemble dramedy sees a group of longtime friends navigating adulthood, relationships, and responsibilities at a friend's wedding.

Special Guest: Writer-Director Malcolm D. Lee

SATURDAY, APRIL 20

9:30AM - BLACKMAIL (1929): A seminal transition between the silent and sound eras, Alfred Hitchcock's British thriller follows a Scotland Yard detective (John Longden) protecting his girlfriend (Anny Ondra) after a crime of passion.

Special Guest: Musicians The Anvil Orchestra

1:00PM - OMOIYARI: A SONG FILM BY KISHI BASHI (2024): Violinist and songwriter Kaoru Ishibashi travels on a musical journey to understand WWII-era Japanese Incarceration, assimilation, and what it means to be a minority in America today.

Special Guest: Singer, Multi-Instrumentalist, and Songwriter Kishi Bashi

4:00PM - ALBANY ROAD (2024): Christine Swanson's latest is a touching, romantic road movie about a New York ad exec (Renee Elise Goldsberry) and her ex's mother (Lynn Whitfield) forced to reconcile their chilly relationship on a long drive to DC.

Special Guests: Director Christine Swanson, Producer Michael Swanson, and Actress Lynn Whitfield.

9:00PM - MAN ON THE MOON (1999): Milos Forman's probing look at the life and laughs of Andy Kaufman, with an Oscar-nominated turn by Jim Carrey as the infamous comedian.

Special Guests: Screenwriters and Producers Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander

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