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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Chaz Ebert to Give Keynote at Palm Springs Film Festival

Chaz Ebert, the publisher of RogerEbert.com and widow of legendary film critic Roger Ebert, will present the Morning Keynote at "The Power of Words: Book to Screen" symposium at the 26th Palm Springs International Film Festival scheduled to kick off at 9am Thursday, January 8th at the Hilton Palm Springs. The topic of discussion will be "Life Itself," Roger's bestselling 2011 memoir adapted for the screen by director Steve James into one of 2014's most acclaimed documentaries. Joining Chaz on the panel are Mark Mitten, executive producer of "Life Itself," and Tim Horsburgh, Communications Director at Kartemquin Films, with Anne Thompson of Indiewire serving as the moderator.

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Following the hour-long morning keynote is a four-session symposium (with an evening keynote) featuring such guests as "Black Hawk Down" author Mark Bowden, "Low Down" producer Albert Berger, "The Descendants" author Kaui Hart Hemmings, "Still Alice" producer Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns and many more. For the full symposium schedule, visit the official festival site.

According to The Desert Sun, the festival's awards gala boasted a record-breaking audience numbering 2,400 and featuring guests such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, Shirley MacLaine and Brad Pitt. Robert Downey Jr. presented the Icon Award to his co-star in "The Judge," Robert Duvall. Steve Carell presented the female Desert Palm Achievement acting award to "Still Alice" star Julianne Moore, who in turn presented Eddie Redmayne with the male accolade for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything." For more coverage of the night's winners, click here.

Below is a video interview with Chaz during the opening night gala, conducted and posted by The Desert Sun.

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