Magazine article Variety

Conjuring a Bright Spirit

Magazine article Variety

Conjuring a Bright Spirit

Article excerpt

The late roger ebert often told this story about himself: During an Ebertfest screening of "Citizen Kane," featuring commentary he had recorded for a Criterion Collection laserdisc, he went for popcorn and asked a patron what she thought of the movie.

"1 like it a lot," she replied. "But I wish that guy would stop talking."

The voice of America's most famous and influential cinema maven has been stilled since 2013. Yet his words and spirit continue to permeate the film festival he founded, with wife Chaz and scholar Nate Kohn, at his beloved U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

"I make sure that Roger is incorporated into the festival," now in its 18th year, Chaz Ebert says.

On post-festival drives back from Champaign, she took notes as he held forth on future programming ideas. "We could run the festival for another 10 years" on the notebooks she preserved, she says.

"We also look for films where we have a video review by either Siskel and Ebert, or Ebert and Roeper," referring to the critic's long-time TV partners.

2016 attendees and director Kasi Lemmons will thereby revisit his enthusiasm for his 1997 top pic. "Eve's Bayou."

Panel discussions reflect a passion for cinema reflecting positively on the human condition. …

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