The film festival coincides this year with the reopening of the Virginia Theatre.
It's always exciting when Ebertfest comes back to town, and this year (April 17-21) will be no different.
Roger Ebert, the University of Illinois graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, last week announced this year's lineup of films and guests for his annual film festival, and it's once again packed with interesting, if somewhat overlooked, movies and a wide variety of guests.
For those who've never been to Ebertfest, officially called Roger Ebert's Film Festival, it's not just movies. Ebert attracts a cast of actors, directors, producers, etc., who help bring the movie-making experience alive for onlookers.
That's why the event — the 15th annual — has become a major event each spring for Champaign, Urbana, the University of Illinois and beyond. Film buffs from all over the country make it a point to attend.
Demand for tickets is always high. But people should not let heavy advance sales discourage them from trying to attend individual movies. Somehow organizers always find a way to get people in to the movies they wish to see.
It goes without saying that the community owes a special debt of gratitude to Ebert for the crucial role he plays in this endeavor. Despite serious health issues, he and his wife, Chaz, remain committed to Ebertfest.
But this is a group effort, and many people have helped make Ebertfest a great event. This year will be especially exciting because Ebertfest will coincide with the reopening of the newly renovated Virginia Theatre — two signature events wrapped into one.