This is the week that memories of Roger Ebert will resonate even more poignantly at his favorite film festival, Cannes. It starts with the Cannes Classics screening of "Life Itself" on Monday, May 19th, at 5pm in Bunuel, but that's just the beginning. On Wednesday, May 21st at 11am, Steve James and Chaz Ebert will sit down in the American Pavilion to discuss their festival hit and how important it is to them to see it play at Cannes. And then, two days later on Thursday, May 22nd at 3pm, many of Roger's colleagues will speak at "The Roger Ebert Critics Panel," including moderator Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune), Eric Kohn (Indiewire), AA Dowd (The Onion AV Club), Wesley Morris (Grantland), Keith Simanton (IMDB), and Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed).
Julie Sisk, the Director of the American Pavilion echoed all of our excitement that these once-in-a-lifetime events were happening at "a place that Roger clearly knew so well and loved. Everyone who has been going to Cannes for any length of time associates Roger with Cannes and probably with The American Pavilion, as he moderated so many panels and In Conversations there over the years."
Steve James, the director of "Life Itself," also knows the connection between Roger and Cannes, telling us, "The film's selection is a thrilling first for me and for Kartemquin. Beyond that, its also a statement about what Roger meant to the festival. He loved Cannes and Cannes loved him. We were so inspired by his writing about the festival, that we've created a new section in the film devoted to his adventures there over the years. Roger was a student of great cinema and of the dreams and spectacle that for him defined Cannes. We can't wait to share his story and our film with everyone there."
Finally, there's Chaz Ebert, who told us, "I will miss his joy at the festival and how he thrilled at each new discovery. Roger was one of the best friends of the festival and I thank the Cannes Film Festival for honoring him through the exhibition of his life's story."
If you're at Cannes, it's Roger's week. Don't miss it.