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Ebertfest Film Festival 2023 Passes On Sale December 12th

Passes for the 23rd Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, or “Ebertfest,” will go on sale Monday, December 12th, at the official sites of Ebertfest and its main venue, The Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Avenue, Champaign, Illinois. They can also be purchased by calling the theater box office at 217-356-9063. The festival, co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz Ebert at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, College of Media, is slated to run from Wednesday, April 19th, through Saturday, April 22nd, 2023. Roger Ebert, an Urbana native, University of Illinois journalism graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, passed away in 2013. Chaz Ebert, Roger’s widow, has been its Executive Producer since the beginning, and its Host since 2007. Dr. Nate Kohn, who has served as the Festival Director from year one, teaches screenwriting at the University of Georgia, in Athens, and is a board member of the Peabody Awards.

"Since 2023 will commemorate the tenth anniversary of Roger's death on April 4th, we are in the process of planning some pretty special films and events. Roger is not lost to any of us; just as with his beloved movies, he lives on through his artistry, his historical role, his continuing unsurpassed critical influence, and through this film festival. So we hope you will join us," says Chaz. Nate Kohn says that "in preparation for the festival, we have teamed up with the Virginia Theatre to preserve the reserved seating model for regular pass holders. This means that, just as last time, you will choose and reserve your specific seat ahead of the festival at the time that you buy your passes, and this seat will be yours for the full run of films."

 Isabelle Huppert and Michael Barker: Photo by Timothy Hiatt, courtesy of Ebertfest.

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 2023 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.  

A few past visitors to the festival include Nancy Allen, Steven Apkon, Ramin Bahrani, Renée Baker, Michael Barker, Seymour Bernstein, Thora Birch, Charles BurnettMichael ButlerVeronica Cartwright, Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Cox, Billy Crudup, Hugh Dancy, Guillermo del Toro, Caleb DeschanelKeir Dullea, Robert Forster, Gina Gershon, Andrew Harvey, Michael HausmanWerner Herzog, Isabelle Huppert, Norman Jewison, Charlie Kaufman, Maja Komorowska, Kris Kristofferson, Neil LaBute, Brie Larson, Norman Lear, and Ang Lee.

Guest have also included Spike Lee, Kasi Lemmons, Richard Linklater, Guy Maddin, John Malkovich, Andrew Miano, Bennett Miller, Gregory Nava, Norman Lear, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeff Nichols, Bill Nighy, Patton Oswalt, Chazz Palminteri, Rebecca Parrish, Father Michael Pfleger, Michael Polish, Alan Polsky, James Ponsoldt, Alex Proyas, Bob Rafelson, Alan Rickman, Gil Robertson, Gary RossPaul Schrader, Jason Segel, Michael Shannon, Timothy Spall, Oliver Stone, Tilda SwintonRita Taggart, Anna Thomas, Jennifer Tilly, David Warner, Paul Weitz, Haskell Wexler, Scott Wilson, Irwin WinklerShailene Woodley and Terry Zwigoff

Chaz Ebert awarding The Golden Thumb to actress Maja Komorowska ("Year of the Quiet Sun') w/Grandson Jerzy Tyszkiewicz: Photo by Timothy Hiatt, courtesy of Ebertfest.

The festival passes cover all screenings during the festival, held in the ornate Virginia Theatre, a restored downtown Champaign movie palace. Related talks and panel discussions will be held at the Hyatt Place hotel in downtown Champaign and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Festival Coordinator Andrew ("Andy") Michael Hall says that Individual passes will be $200, and purchasing four passes together with a “4-pack” option will reduce the cost to $175 per pass. These prices include a $10 contribution to the Virginia Restoration Fund for each pass. The Virginia Theatre will also add a per ticket processing fee to pass sales. Purchase passes and reserve seats at the Virginia Theatre Box Office (217-356-9063) or online by clicking here after 10 a.m. on December 12th. You will be able to choose your seat at the time of purchase. 

Those interested in being a festival sponsor should contact Andy Hall at

Sandra Schulberg, Sacha JenkinsTommye Myrick  and Dominique Jenkins from "Cane River"  Photo by Timothy Hiatt, courtesy of Ebertfest.

Photos by Timothy Hiatt, courtesy of Ebertfest.

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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