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ROGER EBERT’S FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FULL SLATE OF FILMS

Champaign – The 22nd Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, co-founded and hosted by Chaz Ebert and also known as “Ebertfest,” has announced its full slate of films for the April 20-23 event. The list announced today includes an appearance by comedian Gilbert Gottfried to discuss his film “Gilbert”; another movie that introduces us to women arm-wrestlers; and an appearance by a pair of filmmakers to discuss the topic of identity.

Individual tickets to all of the films go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 1, 2022, at 10:00 A.M., at the Virginia Theatre Box Office, online at thevirginia.org, or charge by phone at 217-356-9063.

The festival also announced the itinerary for opening night.

With Oscar-winning directors, comedians and musicians, augmented by many independent movie gems, this year’s lineup takes the festival back to the roots established by late co-founder Roger Ebert, an Urbana native and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alumnus who gained a wide following as a film critic until his death in 2013.

“We will present films that will make you laugh, and make you cry, and some filled with so much music you will want to dance,” Chaz Ebert said. “But, most of all, we will enjoy being back together, in person, to celebrate cinema in a joyous way on the big screen as a community.”

The festival had previously announced Oscar-winning or nominated films and directors like Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley” in black and white), Ramin Bahrani (“The White Tiger”), Terry Zwigoff (“Ghost World”), Azazel Jacobs (“French Exit”) and the late Alfred Hitchcock (“The 39 Steps”). Ebertfest is adding other films that did not get the audiences they deserved because the theaters were closed during the pandemic.

“Some of the small theaters that showed independent and art movies, including the Art Theater in Champaign, which was one of Roger’s favorite cinemas, will never open again,” Chaz Ebert said. “So, we have carefully curated a selection of independent films, especially chosen for our Ebertfest family of movie lovers, to come to our big screen at the beautifully renovated movie palace, the Virginia Theater.”

The “overlooked” films of this year’s Ebertfest include Gottfried’s appearance to discuss his film, which gives an intimate look behind the scenes in the life of a comedian. The festival also will welcome Krisha Fairchild to discuss her movie “Krisha,” which is about life, alcoholism and recovery, but mostly about family. “Golden Arm” is a movie that brings a slice of life, both comic and dramatic, from a world not many know about – women arm wrestlers. The festival will award many of “Golden Arms” cast and crew the coveted Golden Thumb. Ebertfest will also discuss the nature of identity with Jason Delane Lee and Yvonne Huff Lee after the paired showing of their short film “Lifeline” and a second film that they executive-produced, the BAFTA-nominated and Spirit Awards-winning film “Passing,” directed by Rebecca Hall.

The opening night fare will include diverse voices starting with alt-country artist Clem Snide performing the song “Roger Ebert.” Also slated for April 20 is the Oscar-winning documentary “Summer of Soul,” followed by acclaimed jazz and torch singer Tammy McCann performing with Champaign’s own Aplustrodamus and Ther’Up.Y (pronounced “Therapy”). The band’s leader emphasizes the therapeutic nature music has for us, especially in these perilous times.

Other scheduled musically related films and events include “Soy Cubana,” by Jeremy and Robin Ungar, about the “Vocal Vidas” – Cuban singers considered national treasures.

Renee Baker and her 10-piece orchestra will be back by popular demand to accompany and interpret the silent film “Siren of the Tropics.” The film stars the late Josephine Baker, who in 2021 made history, 46 years after her death, by becoming the first American – and the first Black woman – inducted into the Pantheon in Paris, which is a monument reserved for French national heroes. Born in St. Louis, Baker became a French citizen in 1937. She is buried in Monaco. Previous inductees include Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie. Her induction ceremony was presided over by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Ebertfest has taken extra precautions, going beyond local measures to make audiences feel comfortable. The festival is introducing reserved ticketing for the first time to reduce capacity and provide ample spacing between groups. And the Virginia Theatre has installed a new state-of-the-art ventilation system.

The festival will announce additional filmmaker guests in the coming weeks.

Ebertfest will be held at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, with related talks and panel discussions at the Hyatt Place in Champaign and at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Passes are available for $200, including all processing fees. Four passes purchased together are $700. Also available are a small number of University of Illinois student passes priced at $150 each. Individual movie tickets will be available April 1 at $20 for the general public or $15 for University of Illinois students. Passes and tickets may be purchased through the festival website or at the Virginia Theatre box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, 217-356-9063. Updates will be posted on the festival website. Depending on available seating, tickets for individual movies may be available April 1.

Roger Ebert’s Film Festival is a special event of Chaz Ebert and the College of Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. For additional information, visit http://www.ebertfest.com.

Fore more, visit https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/322560300.

MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER TO PERFORM AT VIRGINIA THEATRE JULY 16, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 23, 2022

Champaign, IL – The Champaign Park District has announced that Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER will perform in concert with her band at the historic Virginia Theatre, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign, Illinois, 61820, on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at 7:30 P.M.  $29.50 – $75.00 reserved seating tickets (additional per-ticket processing fees of $3.50 – $6.50 apply) go on sale at 10:00 A.M. Friday, March 25, 2021, at the Virginia Theatre Box Office, online at thevirginia.org, or charge by phone at 217-356-9063.  Presented by True Endeavors 

MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER
With a string of hits like “Passionate Kisses” and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” Mary Chapin Carpenter has won five Grammy Awards (with 16 nominations), two CMA awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards and is one of only fifteen female members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Carpenter has sold over 16 million records over the course of her acclaimed career. In 2020, she recorded two albums—“The Dirt And The Stars”, released in August 2020, and “One Night Lonely”, recorded live without an audience (during the COVID-19 shut down) at the legendary Wolf Trap in Virginia—and was nominated for “Best Folk Album” at the 64th Grammy Awards, in 2022. 

Of her new album, “The Dirt And The Stars”, produced by Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Paul McCartney, and Kings of Leon) and recorded entirely live at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath, England, Carpenter quotes the writer Margaret Renkl: “ ‘We are all in the process of becoming.’ That doesn’t stop at a certain age. To be always a student of art and music and life, as she says, that, to me, is what makes life worth living. The songs are very personal and they’re difficult in some ways, and definitely come from places of pain and self-illumination, but also places of joy, discovery, and the rewards of self- knowledge. They arrived from looking outward as much as inward, speaking to life changes, growing older, politics, compassion, #metoo, heartbreak, empathy, the power of memory, time and place. There are many themes, but they all come back to that initial truth that we are all constantly ‘becoming’ through art and expression.” 

For more, visit https://www.marychapincarpenter.com/ or www.trueendeavors.com

For tickets: thevirginia.org

For interview requests, please call 217-819-3936 or email

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KURTIS CONNER LIVE COMING TO HISTORIC VIRGINIA THEATRE

Champaign, IL – Outback Presents has announced that comedian Kurtis Conner’s national headlining tour, launching this June, will include a stop at the historic Virginia Theatre, 203 West Park Avenue, Champaign, Illinois, 61820, on Friday, July 15, 2022, at 7:00 P.M. $40-$75 reserved seating tickets (additional per-ticket processing fees of $4.50 – $6.50 apply) go on sale at 10:00 A.M. (CDT) Friday, April 1, 2021, at the Virginia Theatre Box Office, online at thevirginia.org, or charge by phone at 217-356-9063.

A sell-out performer, podcaster, and global YouTube sensation, Kurtis Conner is bringing his freshest, funniest material yet to the stage. “Kurtis Conner Live” will also feature Dean Hebscher and Jacob Sharpe.

Kurtis Conner is embarking on his most ambitious solo comedy tour ever. After studying comedy writing and performance in Toronto, Conner quickly found an audience on Vine, later migrating to YouTube and growing that audience to over 3.7 million subscribers worldwide. His 2016 stand-up record “Cuppla Jokes” reached number 6 on the Billboard comedy chart and number 1 on iTunes, while his videos regularly hit the top ten trending page on YouTube. Conner has previously appeared on stage alongside collaborators Danny Gonzalez and Drew Gooden. He hosts the “Very Really Good” podcast.

For more, visit:

shop.kurtisconner.com
facebook.com/kurtisconnercomedy
twitter.com/kurtisconner
instagram.com/kurtisconner
youtube.com/kurtisconner

KURTIS CONNER LIVE 2022 TOUR DATES
Thursday, June 9, 2022 Tampa, FL, Tampa Theatre
Friday, June 10, 2022 Fort Myers, FL, Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall
Saturday, June 11, 2022 Fort Lauderdale, FL, Broward Center For The Performing Arts
Sunday, June 12, 2022 Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theatre
Friday, June 17, 2022 Orlando, FL, Dr. Phillips Center
Saturday, June 18, 2022 New Orleans, LA, Orpheum Theater
Sunday, June 19, 2022 Birmingham, AL, Lyric Theatre
Thursday, June 23, 2022 Savannah, GA, Johnny Mercer Theatre
Friday, June 24, 2022 Atlanta, GA, Cobb Energy Centre
Saturday, June 25, 2022 Athens, GA, The Classic Center
Sunday, June 26, 2022 Augusta, GA, Bell Auditorium
Thursday, July 7, 2022 Norfolk, VA, Harrison Opera House
Friday, July 8, 2022 Richmond, VA, Dominion Energy Center
Saturday, July 9, 2022 Tysons, VA, Capital One Hall
Friday, July 15, 2022 Champaign, IL, Virginia Theatre
Saturday, July 16, 2022 St. Louis, MO, The Factory
Sunday, July 17, 2022 Kansas City, MO, Uptown Theatre
Thursday, July 21, 2022 Springfield, MO, Gillioz Theatre
Friday, July 22, 2022 Wichita, KS, Orpheum Theatre
Sunday, July 24, 2022 Little Rock, AR, Robinson Performance Hall
Thursday, August 18, 2022 Charleston, SC, North Charleston PAC
Friday, August 19, 2022 Charlotte, NC, Ovens Auditorium
Sunday, August 21, 2022 Columbia, SC, Koger Center for the Arts

Outback Presents is the leading independent, full-service promoter of live entertainment. From their home base in Nashville, TN, Outback Presents specializes in producing music and comedy shows, tours and festivals across North America and connecting their diverse roster of artists with their fans. For more information, visit www.outbackpresents.com.

Ebertfest is Back with Slate of Dynamic Directors

 

March 8, 2022

Champaign-Urbana, IL – Ebertfest will be held April 20-23 at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, with related talks and panel discussions at the Hyatt Place in Champaign and at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The festival is a College of Media event. Photo by Fred Zwicky.

Buying Passes for Ebertfest

The 22nd Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, co-founded and hosted by Chaz Ebert and also known as “Ebertfest,” announced that director Guillermo del Toro will return to the festival in April alongside screenwriter Kim Morgan with a black-and-white, 35mm version of their Oscar-nominated movie “Nightmare Alley.” Director Terry Zwigoff also will attend with his cult classic film “Ghost World.”

Announced last year prior to the festival’s rescheduling to 2022, directors Azazel Jacobs and Ramin Bahrani are also in the Ebertfest lineup. Jacobs will appear with the movie “French Exit” and Bahrani with “The White Tiger” – both recent critically acclaimed movies that audiences did not get to watch on the big screen during the pandemic.

Best known for his Academy Award-winning fantasy films “Pan’s Labyrinth” in 2006 and “The Shape of Water” in 2017, del Toro is considered among the most creative and visionary artists of his generation, with a distinctive style showcased through his work as a filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and author. “The Shape of Water” earned the Oscars for best director and best picture.

“Del Toro is a director with a genuine visual sense, with a way of drawing us into his story and evoking the mood with the very look and texture of his shots,” Roger Ebert once wrote. The director appeared at Ebertfest in 2016.

Recalling his last visit to Ebertfest in 2006 with the movie “Bad Santa” (2003), Zwigoff said the festival and Roger Ebert’s legacy are important for filmmakers. “Roger was a very wise and enlightened guy,” Zwigoff said. “If the film was a good one, he didn’t care who was in it, or what the budget was, or who made it. If it was good, he embraced it.”

Festival co-founder and host Chaz Ebert, the wife of Roger Ebert – an Urbana native and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alumnus who gained a wide following as a film critic until his death in 2013 – said she is excited by the return to an in-person festival this year.

“Watching movies during quarantine and then again afterward reinforced for me how totally different it is to watch movies in the cinema,” she said. “There are some movies that you don’t want to watch on a little screen unless you have to and, even if you have streamed some of these movies, you are going to get a very different experience seeing them at the festival.

“This is certainly the case for ‘Nightmare Alley,’ where we’ll screen the black-and-white version that represents the filmmakers’ original vision for the film.”

Ebertfest organizers aim for variety in its programming by curating a mix of small gems, independent films and classics – old and new – as well as blending musical performances into the schedule.

The alt-country band Clem Snide will open the 2022 festival, and musical presentations will be part of other Ebertfest movies this year. A silent movie screening of “Siren of the Tropics,” starring Josephine Baker, will be accompanied by 10 musicians from Renee Baker’s Chicago Modern Orchestra. In addition, the festival will follow other movies on the schedule with live musical performances that will be announced shortly.

Ebertfest will also feature an “audience choice” movie, the Alfred Hitchcock film “The 39 Steps.” Among Roger Ebert’s all-time favorite movies, the 1935 British film is an early work that puts on display all of the style elements that Hitchcock is known for.

The festival will announce more films and filmmaker guests in the next few weeks.

Ebertfest will be held April 20-23 at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, with related talks and panel discussions at the Hyatt Place in Champaign and at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Passes are available for purchase at $200, including all processing fees. Four passes purchased together are $700. Also available are a small number of University of Illinois student passes priced at $150 each. Passes may be purchased through the festival website or at the Virginia Theatre box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, 217-356-9063. Updates will be posted on the festival website. Depending on available seating, tickets for individual movies may be available April 1.

Roger Ebert’s Film Festival is an event of the College of Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. For additional information, visit http://www.ebertfest.com.

University of Illinois College of Media Editor’s notes:

Anyone interested in supporting the event as a festival sponsor may contact Andy Hall, the festival’s project coordinator, at .