Ask 'Mimi' May 4, 2014

Ask 'Mimi' May 4, 2014

When will the lineup for Ebertfest 2015 be announced?

"We will announce the Ebertfest 2015 in late February or March. Festival passes go on sale Nov. 1, 2014. Get yours early!" Mary Susan Britt, the festival's associate director, said.

From my observations over the years, it takes a lot of logistics for Ebertfest to nail down the movies and guests, some of whom travel here from other countries.

Sometimes guests are announced after the lineup is announced. Case in point: Oscar-nominated director Bennett Miller, who came with the movie "Capote" this year.

Festival director Nate Kohn told me on the last day of the festival he doesn't foresee changes in the format. People with comments about and suggestions for the festival may email them to karmic333@yahoo.com, festival emcee and executive producer Chaz Ebert said.

Are there final attendance figures available for Ebertfest 2014?

Britt said this year's event in and around the Virginia Theatre drew 18,000 attendees. Many of those would be repeats — people with festival passes who go to many or all of the 12 screenings. The number also includes people who attended the academic panels on the University of Illinois campus.

The Virginia Theatre has 1,463 seats. So 12 x 1,463 is 17,556. I noticed a few empty seats at some screenings, but it's safe to say there were well over 17,000 attendees altogether at the 12 movies.

Festival director Nate Kohn believes attendance was the highest in the 16 years of the festival.

Where did the Roger Ebert sculpture go?

The life-size sculpture by Bloomington-Normal artist Rick Harney is now being stored in a Champaign Park District facility after having sat temporarily on a wooden platform outside the theater during Ebertfest.

The statue will be placed permanently just to the southeast of the Virginia marquee — hopefully this summer, said Scott Anderson, who led the fundraising campaign for it.

Dennis Schmidt, director of public works for the city of Champaign, said the city is gathering estimates from contractors for the installation costs, which could be covered by the city, park district or private funds — that has not yet been determined, Schmidt said.

Have a question? We'd love to hear from you. Please email it to mmerli@news-gazette.com.

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