Passes for the 21st annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, or “Ebertfest,” will go on sale Nov. 1. The festival schedule will run four days instead of five, but with the same number of films. The festival will open on the evening of Wednesday, April 10th, and close on the evening of Saturday, April 13th, instead of the following Sunday afternoon, as it has in the past. See our video of the 20th anniversary here.
“The festival originally ended on Saturday night to give the audience time to travel back home or just to get ready for the week ahead, but we gradually added Sunday,” said Chaz Ebert, a co-founder of the festival. “We are returning to that original schedule, but you won’t notice it because we will still have the same amount of films. And I promise you, we will have the same joy and discovery packed within those days. Then you can go home and rest. After all, we will be entering Year 21 and we want to make it special. Roger would be so proud.”
The festival passes cover all 12 or more screenings during the festival, held in the ornate Virginia Theatre, a restored downtown Champaign movie palace. Related talks and panel discussions may be held at the Hyatt Place hotel in downtown Champaign and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The lineup of films, guests and other events will be announced several weeks before the festival, which is sponsored by the U. of I. College of Media.
In addition to celebrated films, the festival presents cinematic works overlooked by audiences, critics or distributors. It was founded by Ebert, an Urbana native, U. of I. journalism graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times who died in 2013. Chaz Ebert, Roger’s widow, is a co-founder and executive producer of the festival, as well as its host; Nate Kohn is the festival director.
The passes are $150, plus processing. Four passes purchased together are $510 instead of $600, or 15 percent off. Also available are a small number of U. of I. student passes priced at $100 each.
Updates will be posted on the festival website. Tickets for individual movies will be available Monday, April 1. Those interested in being a festival sponsor should contact Andy Hall, the festival's project coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A video featuring highlights from Ebertfest's 20th anniversary can be viewed below...