Ebertfest: Roger Ebert's Film Festival

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Ebertfest: Roger Ebert's Film Festival, originally known as Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival but commonly referred to as simply Ebertfest, is an annual film festival held every April in Champaign, Illinois, United States, organized by the College of Media at the University of Illinois. Roger Ebert is a native of the adjoining town of Urbana, Illinois and is an alumnus of the University.


Selection criteria

Unlike typical film festivals, Ebertfest[1] does not accept submissions. Roger Ebert, the TV and Chicago Sun-Times film critic selects films for the festival which in his opinion are excellent, but have been overlooked by the public or by film distribution companies. All films are selected from those that Ebert sees in the course of his normal reviewing work.

The original purpose of the Overlooked Film Festival, as reflected in the name, was to showcase films that had not been given enough attention by the public, film critics, or even distributors. Ebert has cheerfully admitted that he can bend the definition of "overlooked" to accommodate any film that he would like to include, since entire genres and formats can be overlooked as well as individual films. The selection philosophy is expected to continue, but with the name change there will no longer be a need to come up with a pretext for including any film.

70 mm

In most years the festival has included a film in the 70 mm format. The films may be major releases, like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Patton, or less well-known, like 2005's showing of the French film Play Time. These films were all chosen primarily due to their use of the 70mm process, which Ebert feels is overlooked.

Silent film

Each year a silent film is shown with live orchestral accompaniment. The films selected are generally well-known (for example, Nosferatu), but Ebert feels that silent films in general are overlooked by the majority of moviegoers. The festival also strives to include a musical film for the same reason. Performers providing live accompaniment have included the Champaign Urbana Symphony Orchestra and the Alloy Orchestra.

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