Dear Ebertfest Audience,
As we get closer to the date for the Roger Ebert Film Festival (Ebertfest), we are receiving many messages expressing concern about the Delta Variant of COVID-19. Transmission numbers are picking up again across the country and are predicted to rise and peak in Illinois right when the festival is scheduled. As a result, some filmmakers, sponsors and audience members are expressing hesitation about attending the festival next month. We thought the worst was behind us in May when we polled everyone and decided to hold an in-person event. But in light of the new circumstances we feel that the best option is to postpone Ebertfest.
We are moving the festival from September to the new dates of April 20-23, 2022.
It is truly difficult to come to terms with this decision after all of your support and patience, and after everyone at Ebertfest and the University of Illinois have put in so much effort to come back from the shut-down. Also, we had such a wonderful schedule of films, filmmakers, speakers, bands and live performances planned for September. However, we find it easier to make the decision to postpone knowing that everyone’s health and safety come first. Finally, by postponing the festival we can look forward to giving you the best festival possible.
An April festival will bring back our special guests and keep the dialogue with filmmakers central to the experience of the festival. We also know that the Champaign Park District will have installed at the Virginia Theatre a new HVAC system with the very latest ventilation technology to kill pathogens and control allergens in the auditorium space. An April festival will also give us more time to work with the University to put in place any verification of vaccination and testing protocols if needed. Our main goals are to keep everyone safe and make sure that you have the peace of mind to be totally immersed in our movies.
In terms of the logistics around attending Ebertfest, nothing has changed but the dates. Sponsorship and passes will simply be moved over to our new times and we hope that all of you will join us for a safer and more engaging Ebertfest in the spring. We would like to thank all of our business partners for working with us as we make this change in our scheduling. The Festival’s official hotel, the Hyatt Place in Champaign, is automatically transferring all room reservations made under the Ebertfest Block to our new dates. Please call them at 217-531-2800 if you need to make changes to your reservations. The Virginia Theatre will retain your passes and seat allocations for the event. You may call their box office at 217-356-9063 if the new dates don't fit into your plan and you have to request a refund.
I remind myself that April is only a few short months away for us to all come together again. Perhaps we were fated to stay in our original spring time slot after all. We look forward to telling you once again, The Balcony Is Open!
See you in April!
Below is Chaz Ebert's video announcing the postponement of Ebertfest and its new dates...