LIVE: 2015 Ebertfest Day 1

Welcome to our LIVE report from Ebertfest, coordinated by staff writer Melissa Merli, who has been on hand for each one of the festivals in downtown Champaign.

She will be tweeting regularly throughout the week. Follow her here

11:43 p.m.

Artist keeps Roger looking his best

CHAMPAIGN — If you passed by the Virginia Theatre on Monday, you might have noticed a man who seemed to be styling Roger Ebert's hair.

They work behind the scenes

URBANA — As an aspiring filmmaker, University of Illinois senior Jigar Patel looks forward to Ebertfest, the capstone event each year for Illini Film and Video.

For the past 15 or so years, club members have volunteered at the festival, videotaping each movie introduction, discussion and Q-and-A at the Virginia Theatre.

Future Five: Entertainment for the week ahead


Richard J. Leskosky: Program preserves treasured films

Do you like old movies — say, those produced significantly before you even started watching movies? There are fewer of them around than you might think. Half of all films made before 1950 have been lost. Fewer than 20 percent of films from the 1920s survive. And from the 1910s, the survival rate drops to about 10 percent.

Top of the morning, April 13, 2015

Dear Alma Mater,

You can take a break.

Starting Wednesday, the sculpture of Urbana native Roger Ebert, outside the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, will be the most popular place in town for a selfie.

Roger Ebert's Film Festival, Vol. 17, kicks off at 7 p.m. Wednesday with "Goodbye to Language" and an appearance by actor Heloise Godet.

Here's what's happening on the film scene

Event to look at Lincoln in film

More than a revered president, Abraham Lincoln also is a Hollywood icon, appearing in more than 350 movies and TV shows.

Where's James Ponsoldt going after his film screens at Eberfest? Take a guess.

James Ponsoldt never met Roger Ebert, but while he's here at the Roger Ebert Film Festival to show his film about native genius David Foster Wallace, he's going to pay the late critic a fitting tribute.

"I'm going to Steak 'n Shake after the screening," said the director.

Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Activities for art lovers

Who lives here? April 11, 2015

Each week, The News-Gazette will show a screen shot of a home from a movie or TV show and ask readers, "Who lives here?"