Smile Politely

Chaz Ebert and Nate Kohn issue letter about Ebertfest’s 20th anniversary

Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, aka Ebertfest, is celebrating 20 years in 2018 — April 18-22, 2018 will be here soon enough. In celebration of that, Chaz Ebert and Nate Kohn have issued a letter about the anniversary.

Festival passes are on sale this Wednesday, November 1st. Check out our recap of Ebertfest 2017 here and here.

~ Sent on behalf of Chaz Ebert, Co-Founder, Producer and Host and Nate Kohn, Festival Director of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival ~

Dear Friends of Ebertfest:

I am so excited to reach out to you about our upcoming 20th anniversary! When Roger and I founded this film festival at the request of the University of Illinois, we had no idea it would still be going strong this many years later. Sadly, Roger is no longer with us, but I feel his input in every decision I make with Nate Kohn, the inimitable Festival Director who has been guiding the festival alongside us from the start. Nate, like Roger, is a son of Urbana. But we appreciate that our audiences are both local and come from all over the United States. We value you and we don’t take your loyalty for granted. That is why we are planning the biggest, best festival ever for April 18-22, and we are inviting you to join us!

This festival has been a labor of love from the very beginning, and I always look forward to meeting the wonderful audiences—both new and returning—every year. Time and again our distinguished guest filmmakers have told me how much they’ve loved their experience at the festival and cannot wait to come back. To celebrate our twentieth year, I encourage you to share your own ideas of how we can make this anniversary installment extra-special. Please write to me and Nate at [email protected]. And as a treat, please watch the recap video of our most recent festival at the end of this letter.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous support of the University of Illinois, College of Media, headed by Interim Dean Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko. His enthusiasm for our festival and the upcoming anniversary is much appreciated.

We are sending you an early letter to alert you to the sale of passes because we expect new festivalgoers for this anniversary, and we don’t want you to miss out on either a pass, or the chance to reserve a room at the Hyatt Hotel, which is within walking distance from the Virginia Theater. Passes for the festival will go on sale Wednesday, November 1st, and will be available at the official sites of Ebertfest and its main venue, The Virginia Theatre203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, IL. They can also be purchased by calling the theater box office at 217-356-9063. Passes cost $150 plus processing and cover every screening scheduled for the festival. Only 1,000 passes will be sold. As in the past, panel discussions and other related festival events are free.

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 2018 will not be announced until next year, 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, Charles Burnett, Michael Butler, Veronica Cartwright, Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Cox, Billy Crudup, Hugh Dancy, Guillermo del Toro, Caleb Deschanel, Keir Dullea, Robert Forster, Andrew Harvey, Michael Hausman, Werner Herzog, Isabelle Huppert, Norman Jewison, Charlie Kaufman, Kris Kristofferson, Neil LaBute, Brie Larson, Ang Lee, 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 Ross, Paul Schrader, Jason Segel, Michael Shannon, Timothy Spall, Oliver Stone, Tilda Swinton, Rita Taggart, Anna Thomas, David Warner, Paul Weitz, Haskell Wexler, Scott Wilson, Irwin Winkler, Shailene Woodley and Terry Zwigoff. Here is a look back at our wonderful memories from Ebertfest 2017, as shared by our guests…

Join in the Ebertfest conga line next year and meet filmmakers, critics and movie buffs from around the world. There simply isn’t a cinematic labor of love quite like it! And please write to us at [email protected].

Warmest Regards,

Chaz Ebert and Nate Kohn

Top photo from Ebertfest’s website. Video embedded for user purposes.

Executive Editor

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