Ebertfest 2019 Day 2 | Our favorite moments

Ebertfest 2019 Day 2 | Our favorite moments

Arts-and-entertainment expert Frank Pieper's take:

My favorite Day 2 moments

— My favorite Ebertfest exchange so far involving actresses Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon took place at Thursday morning's "Women in Cinema" panel discussion at the Hyatt Place Hotel in downtown Champaign. Moderator Chaz Ebert recalled for Gershon that Roger Ebert considered her one of his favorite people to interview and was impressed with how smart she was: "He said that you had a level of intelligence that's not often found in Hollywood."

Tilly, seated next to Gershon, piped up, "Well, what did he say about me?"

Amid the burst of audience laughter, Chaz floundered a moment for a response — "He loved you, he loved you, Jennifer" — before recovering to add, "I'll tell you exactly what he said about you. He said you have to be smart as a fox to play someone dumb."

Jennifer Merin, film journalist, critic and president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, provided some of the keenest insights at the aforementioned panel discussion and drew one of its biggest ovations when she concluded her remarks on how the statistics about women's underrepresentation in the film industry ought not to be the focus.

"It's not that women are not producing films, it's that the films that they make are not being recognized, they're not being respected, they're not being made available to audiences who are interested in them, and that is something that we really need to change. ...

"We can't keep looking at, uh, 'We want a bigger piece of that pie.' We have to change the ingredients of the pie. We want a different pie. ... As audience members, we have to demand this, and as critics, we have to pay attention to the films that are being ignored."

— Sony Pictures co-founder Michael Barker blamed his late arrival to his scheduled panel seat on his iPhone, which he said had failed to adjust for the time change since he flew in from New York the day before. But he quickly made up for lost time with a few astute observations of his own, including on how Ebertfest serves a function in grieving old friends, who have recently passed away, like actor Scott Wilson (who died in October) and director Agnes Varda (who died March 29).

"Sometimes I think the real value of Ebertfest are the people we miss," he said. "It's almost like the grieving for the people we're really close to never ends, but the way we can do it here is to celebrate them."

Looking forward to Day 3

10 a.m.: "Cold War" (2018). Director Pawe Pawlikowski's tale of impossible love set in post-World War II Poland is based on Pawlikowski's own parents.

1:30 p.m: "Cane River" (1982). Guests are actress Tommye Myrick and Sacha Jenkins, son of the late director Horace Jenkins, who died before the film's theatrical release. Chaz Ebert describes the film as "the equivalent of a modern day folkloric 'Romeo & Juliet' with African-American protagonists from Louisiana."

4:30 p.m.: "A Year of the Quiet Sun" (1984). Yet another story of star-crossed love in post-WWII Poland, this film is being shown in honor of frequent Ebertfest guest Scott Wilson, with his widow, Heavenly, and co-star, Polish actress Maja Komorowska, as guests.

9 p.m. today: Ebertfest lightens up with the 1997 comedy "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow. Guest is director David Mirkin.

Topics (1):Film
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