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Chaz Ebert Celebrates 25 Years of Ebertfest While Honored at University of Illinois Alumni Awards Gala | Festivals & Awards


“I cannot believe that it was almost 25 years ago that Roger and I started the Roger Ebert Film Festival at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana,” said Ebert. “And I am pleased to be installed as an Honorary Alumnus. Over these years our mission of encouraging empathy through the movies has grown to include all of my FECK Principles: Forgiveness, Empathy, Compassion and Kindness. And we look forward to another exciting year of films at the Virginia Theatre, April 17-20, 2024. Roger said that the University gave him such a great start in life and he would be so proud of my recent honor.”

Generous donations from the Eberts and others established the Roger Ebert Program for Film Studies and The Ebert Center at the University. Chaz Ebert is a life trustee of the Art Institute and serves on the boards of the Lincoln Presidential Foundation, the Lyric Opera, the LA Opera, the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab and After School Matters. She is also in the midst of directing her first documentary, “The Wellness Warrior.”

“We will have a big celebration at the University in honor of our 25th anniversary,” said Ebert. “I am working with Dr. Nate Kohn, our Festival Director, and Molly Cornyn, our Festival Coordinator to do it up in a grand way. And we always appreciate the support of Tracy Sulkin, the Dean of the College of Media, and Timothy L. Killeen, the President of the University. This year we are also working with the professors in the Advertising and Marketing departments whose students get the benefit of both academic and practical knowledge in solving real-world business issues. I am so impressed with their recommendations for how to freshen up things at the festival.”

Previous guests at Ebertfest have included Ramin Bahrani, Thora Birch, Charles Burnett, Veronica Cartwright, Arthur C. Clarke, Julie Dash, Guillermo del Toro, Ava DuVernayWerner Herzog, Isabelle Huppert, Charlie Kaufman, Brie Larson, Norman Lear, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Kasi Lemmons, Richard Linklater, Guy Maddin, John Malkovich, Tim Blake Nelson, Bill Nighy, Donald O’Connor, Patton Oswalt, Frank Oz, Chazz Palminteri, Bob Rafelson, Alan Rickman, Paul Schrader, Michael Shannon, Oliver Stone, Tilda Swinton, Jennifer Tilly, David Warner, Paul Weitz, Haskell Wexler, Scott Wilson, Irwin WinklerShailene Woodley and Terry Zwigoff.

For the full list of other honorees at the Alumni Awards Gala please, visit the official site of the University of Illinois’ Alumni Awards.

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