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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Roger Ebert’s Film Festival has had a thing for films featuring Scott Wilson, and he has come to four festivals as a guest, including the first.
This year’s “Ebertfest” will be showing yet another of the actor’s films, a post-World War II romance, “A Year of the Quiet Sun” (1984), but this time in his memory. Wilson died last year.
“Sun” is the first film announced for this year’s festival, coming April 10-13 to the ornate Virginia Theatre, a restored downtown Champaign movie palace, with related events held at other downtown or University of Illinois locations.
Wilson’s co-star, Polish actress Maja Komorowska, will be a guest with the film along with the actor’s widow, Heavenly Wilson. Both will appear onstage after the film for a celebration of the actor’s life. The entire festival is also being dedicated to his memory.
Organizers also announced that this year’s Ebertfest will celebrate the on-air partnership Roger Ebert shared with Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper in their television series “Ebert & Roeper.”
Roeper will select two of the festival’s 12 films, working with festival co-founder and host Chaz Ebert and festival director Nate Kohn. Roeper also will appear onstage after each of those films to reflect on his partnership with Roger and to moderate the guest panels.
In “A Year of the Quiet Sun,” Wilson plays an American soldier who falls in love with a Polish refugee in war-torn Europe. In a 2003 review, Roger Ebert praised Wilson’s “great performance” and called the movie “poetic in the way it visualizes the hope of the two lovers while reflecting the poignancy of their fates.” It won a best film award at the Venice Film Festival.
The festival is sponsored by the U. of I. College of Media.
Tickets for individual movies will be available April 1, after the full schedule is announced.
Source: Illinois News Bureau
The festival schedule is getting a revamp in 2019, when it will run four days instead of five. The April 10-13 festival will open Wednesday evening and close Saturday evening instead of Sunday afternoon, as it has in the recent past.
“The festival originally ended on Saturday night to give the audience time to travel back home or just get ready for the week ahead, but we eventually added Sunday,” said Chaz Ebert, a co-founder of the festival with Roger. “We are returning to that original schedule, but you won’t notice it because we will still have the same number of films. I promise we will have the same joy and discovery packed within those days. After all, this will be year 21 and we want to make it special.”
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.
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 the executive producer of the festival and its host; Nate Kohn is the festival director.
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.
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.
Those interested in being a festival sponsor should contact Andy Hall, the festival’s project coordinator, at email@example.com.