Ebertfest 2019 finale | Next year's festival dates announced

Ebertfest 2019 finale | Next year's festival dates announced

CHAMPAIGN — "I've heard some rumors going around town, and on TV, and in print," Chaz Ebert told the Virginia Theatre audience before introducing Ebertfest's final film on Saturday night.

"And I just want to tell you, I want you to join me back here next year, April 15th through 18th, for Ebertfest!"

When the enthusiastic ovation that announcement prompted eventually subsided, she added, "So those rumors you've heard, they're not true. I can explain what they were about, but ... you know what, it's just best to say: We'll be back here for Ebertfest next year, April 15th through the 18th."

The news of next year's scheduled dates for Ebertfest — guaranteeing the popular annual film festival's continued future, at least in the short term — was just what the fest's faithful were waiting to hear, especially considering that the unusual availability of festival passes and individual movie tickets by the start of Ebertfest 2019 last Wednesday, as well as the number of empty VIP seats at even the more popular film showings, suggested turnout might be off a bit from past years.

And there might be more good news to come. Chaz Ebert mentioned earlier during the festival that she envisioned making a full-length documentary film about Ebertfest at some time in the near future.

Asked about the idea later, she admitted she had few details about the project to share yet, as "it's still in the very early stages of planning. ... Call it the conceptual stage."

But a film about Ebertfest being shown at a future Roger Ebert's Film Festival? That's something the festival's surviving co-founder and reigning host is excited about seeing through to fruition.

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