Perseverance pays for Egyptian writer in trip to Ebertfest

CHAMPAIGN – Wael Khairy of Cairo had to go through a lot to get to Roger Ebert's Film Festival in Champaign.

The 22-year-old film critic for Egypt's only English-language magazine on film traveled 16 to 17 hours to arrive here on Saturday, the second-to-last day of the festival.

Ebert makes special point of presenting thumb-up to director of 'Synecdoche'

CHAMPAIGN – Calling Charlie Kaufman the most creative screenwriter of his generation, Roger Ebert made the unusual move on Friday night of coming onto the Virginia Theatre stage to introduce him and hand him his "Golden Thumb" award.

Ebert: 'Transforming' performances like that in 'Trucker' deserve better play, recognition

CHAMPAIGN – Every year the Academy Awards are announced, Roger Ebert feels underwhelmed by the small group of finalists, usually from movies that have grossed a lot at the box office.

Melissa Merli's Ebertfest notebook: sketches, youth, sublime writing and crowds

Most of us know Roger Ebert is a fabulous writer. Some of you might not know he's a visual artist too.

One of his sketches graces the cover of the 12th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival program as well as the festival poster, souvenir mugs and T-shirts.

Grace, emotion of 'Departures' earn director a standing ovation

CHAMPAIGN – Japanese director Yojiro Takita – the first filmmaker in the 12th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival to receive a standing ovation – enjoyed watching the festival-goers watch his movie on Friday afternoon at the Virginia Theatre.

Ebertfest notebook: Of volcanoes, unbreakable thumbs, heroes and more

Another Ebertfest guest won't be making the trip to Champaign because of the flight-stopping volcanic ash over Europe.

Ebert film center at UI halfway there after anonymous donation

URBANA – A Roger Ebert film center here is now halfway to reality.

The University of Illinois College of Media needs about $5 million for a center to honor the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and local hero. Ebert and his wife Chaz gave the first million; this week the college announced an additional anonymous bequest for $1.5 million.

No 'bunkers' for these far-flung correspondents gathered by Ebert

URBANA – When Roger Ebert's "farflung" correspondent Geraldo Valero of Mexico City was told he would stay in student housing during Ebertfest, he figured he would be sleeping in "student bunkers."

'This is my happening and it's freaking me out'

CHAMPAIGN – Saying he was "walking on air" after having met Roger Ebert for the first time, Gov. Pat Quinn opened the critic's 12th annual film festival by proclaiming Wednesday as "Ebertfest Day" in Illinois.

Spotlight shines on volunteers who work at Ebertfest

CHAMPAIGN – University of Illinois sophomore Beanz Ramirez spent his 20th birthday on Tuesday evening at the Cowboy Monkey, eating pizza with several friends.

It wasn't really a birthday celebration, though.