Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert Documentary ‘Life Itself’ to Premiere at Sundance

Life Itself,” the documentary based on renowned film critic Roger Ebert’s rollicking memoir of the same name, is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19 in Park City, Utah. In a first, the film will be live streamed simultaneously to Ebert’s fans and supporters who sign up at filmmaker Kartemquin’s Indiegogo campaign. The campaign runs through midnight January 13 at Indiegogo.com.

“Roger was always at the leading edge of technology,” said Chaz Ebert, Roger’s wife and the publisher of RogerEbert.com, the movie review site the Eberts redesigned and re-launched last spring. “Kartemquin’s decision to use crowd funding for the project, and to stream the film to fans, fits nicely with Roger’s affinity for technology and his special gift of connecting to his readers across the globe. He would have wanted as many people as possible to join in this historic event.”

In another first, the Sundance Institute and IndieWire.com in conjunction with the Ebert Foundation will host the first six Roger Ebert Film Critic Scholars at the festival. Chaz adds: “The internship program that Eric Kohn at IndieWire.com started a few years ago is brilliant, and I am pleased that Robert Redford saw how to integrate it into the Sundance programs. I look forward to working with Eric and the aspiring critics. Roger loved mentoring emerging journalists and so this is particularly close to my heart.”

The Sundance Institute is the first to establish a film critic’s scholarship in Ebert’s name. Chaz is in talks to establish additional scholarships tied to other film festivals and universities. In addition, Film Independent will acknowledge Ebert at the Independent Spirit Awards March 1 with a grant to an emerging filmmaker.

Steve James, who previously won acclaim for “Hoop Dreams,” is directing “Life Itself” and will be conducting a Q&A afterwards. Says James: “Roger allowed us full access so the film provides an unvarnished glimpse of his ascent as a cultural arbiter, from college newspaper editor and serial dating bachelor to television icon and devoted family man, to his decade-long cancer battle. You couldn’t ask for a better subject.”

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Steven Zaillian (“Schindler’s List,” “Money Ball”), “Life Itself” was one of three films selected for special screening before members of the Sundance Institute at the festival, which runs January16-26.

Having the film premiere at Sundance is a fitting venue, Chaz Ebert said, because Roger was an early supporter of Redford’s efforts to establish a presence to showcase independent American cinema. The film is to be theatrically released in 2014. CNN Films has picked up the television rights.

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Roger Ebert Memorial Scheduled for Monday

Fans of beloved film critic Roger Ebert have been invited to bid farewell to the star at a memorial service in Chicago, Illinois, on Monday.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning film buff and longtime Chicago Sun-Times contributor died on Thursday, two days after revealing he had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

He will be remembered with a ceremony at the Holy Name Cathedral on Monday morning and his loved ones have decided to make the service open to the public so friends, family and devotees can mourn his loss together.

Tributes to Ebert poured in after news of his death broke on Thursday, with U.S. President Barack Obama joining actors Mia Farrow, Steve Martin, Stephen Fry and William Shatner in expressing their sorrow at the sad announcement.

Movie Critic Roger Ebert Dies After Long Cancer Battle

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert died Thursday, just one day after announcing his cancer had returned. The Chicago Sun-Times confirms Ebert passed away in Chicago at the age of 70. No other details were immediately available.

Ebert became a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He was eventually syndicated to roughly 200 newspapers around the world. He was the first film critic to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and win a Pulitzer Prize.

For 23 years, Ebert reviewed films with Gene Siskel on the TV programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies. When Siskel died in 1999, Ebert worked with Richard Roeper on the TV series Ebert & Roeper & the Movies. He stopped appearing on the show in 2006 after several surgeries to remove cancerous growths left him without part of his jaw, and unable to speak, eat, or drink. His cancer returned last December. Earlier this week he announced the disease’s return and said he would be taking “a leave of presence” from his blog and film reviews.

Ebert is survived by his wife of 20 years, Chaz Hammelsmith.