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Encyclopedia > Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival

Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, commonly referred to as "Ebertfest," is a film festival held each April in Champaign, Illinois organized by the College of Communications at the University of Illinois. 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. Unlike typical film festivals it does not accept submissions. All films are selected from those that Ebert sees in the course of his normal reviewing work. A film festival is a mostly annual festival showcasing films, usually of a recent date, sometimes with a focus on a specific genre (e. ... A view of Champaign from above ( see wider view). ... The University of Illinois is the set of three public universities in Illinois. ... Roger Ebert (right) with Russ Meyer, 1970. ... New Chicago Sun-Times building located at 350 N. Orleans St. ... Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of films, individually and collectively. ...

Ebert is first to admit that he can bend the definition of "overlooked" to accommodate any film that he would like to include. Not only individual films can be overlooked but so can genres and formats. In most years the festival has included a film in the 70mm format. The films may be major like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Patton or less well known like 2005's showing of the French film Playtime but here it's the 70mm process, capable of superlative widescreen image quality but now disused, which is overlooked. Each year a silent film is shown with live orchestral accompaniment (usually by the Alloy Orchestra). The films, such as Nosferatu are famous but silent films in general are overlooked by most people. The festival also strives to include a musical film for the same reason. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Patton is a 1970 biographical film which tells the story of General George Pattons commands during World War II. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden and Michael Bates. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Playtime was French director Jacques Tatis 6th film. ... Max Schreck as Count Orlok Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (A Symphony of Horrors in German) is a German Expressionist film shot in 1922 by F.W. Murnau. ...

At the festival before each screening Roger Ebert will make a few introductory remarks. After the film is shown he will have a discussion on stage with the filmmakers or others connected with the film, sometimes hosting a brief panel discussion.

Twelve to fourteen films are presented at each festival which opens with a single film on a Wednesday night and concludes with a single movie the following Sunday with four films each day in between. Festival goers can purchase tickets to individual shows or run of the festival passes. As passholders don't necessarily attend every show it's often possible to obtain tickets at the last minute after empty seats are counted.

Ebertfest is held at the Virginia Theatre, an old time movie palace in Champaign, Illinois and now owned by the Champaign Park District. West Side Park, Downtown Champaign The Champaign Park District is the municipality association responsible for the award-winning parks in the city of Champaign, Illinois. ...

The festival is a direct descendant of a program put on at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 called "Cyberfest" which used the supposed birthday of HAL (the computer in the 2001 film) to highlight the University's involvement in the history of computers and computing. The film was to be shown as part of Cyberfest, Roger Ebert had agreed to host and actor Gary Lockwood was a special guest. It was suggested that the film should ideally be shown as it was originally, in 70mm format. The original plan was to have the screening at the University's performing arts center but time constraints vs. the need to install projection equipment and elaborate 6 channel sound made that impossible. Someone suggested looking at the Virginia Theatre as 70mm films had been shown there in the past. At this point the theatre was in the hands of a local live theatre group and had not run films since sold by a theatre chain. All concerned were pleasantly surprised to learn the the chain had left behind not only what is reputed to be the finest 35/70mm projector made but also the screen and speakers. The rest of the equipment was brought in for the special showing which went perfectly. 1997 (MCMXCVII in Roman) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is a fictional computer/character in the Space Odyssey series, the first being the novel and film 2001 A Space Odyssey, written by Arthur C. Clarke in 1968. ... Gary Lockwood (born John Gary Yusolfsky on February 21, 1937 in Van Nuys, California) is an American actor. ...

Legend has it that Roger and University officials hatched the plan for an ongoing film festival late that night at a local Steak N Shake restaurant. Steak N Shake continues to be a sort of unofficial official fast food restaurant of Ebertfest.

Since that time, through generous donations, the Virginia has been able to fully equip its projection and sound system with a 2nd projector, the latest in digital sound equipment and top quality lenses. Instrumental in these upgrades has been notable Chicago-based projection expert James Bond who doubles as one of the projectionists during the festival. The other projectionist is Steve Kraus whose primary occupation is running a private screening room in Chicago used by studios to preview films for critics. Chicago (officially named the City of Chicago) is the third largest city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), with an official population of 2,896,016, as of the 2000 census. ...

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