April 17, 2013

Weekly RoundUp: Ebertfest

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Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, Illinois

Danielle Sheppard

Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, Illinois

Ebertfest, film critic Roger Ebert’s annual film festival, begins on Wednesday, April 17th at Champaign’s newly restored Virginia Theatre. Ebert died on April 4th after a long battle with cancer.

WILL-AM will dedicate Thursday’s edition of Focus to a discussion of memories about Roger Ebert, and WILL-TV will air a special, Ebert Remembered, on Thursday evening. Click here for more info on WILL’s coverage.

Here’s a roundup of  Ebertfest coverage and events this week:

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE 2013 – a schedule of events and screenings from the official Ebertfest site. Ebertfest runs Wednesday, April 17th through Sunday, April 21st.

Wexler heads to Ebertfest feeling ‘perfect’ – News-Gazette

“At age 91, the distinguished cinematographer Haskell Wexler is going strong — with his camera and comments.

Wexler, who will help open the 15th annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival Wednesday evening at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, said on Tuesday he feels “perfect,” physically and mentally.

He doesn’t know exactly why.

“I guess because I’m cantankerous and grouchy and not happy with the way the world is going, and I want to do something about it with my camera,” he said.”

Restored Virginia Theatre, 91 years old, holds Champaign’s memories – CU-CitizenAcceses.org

“Built in 1921, the Virginia was designed as a Vaudeville theater. It was part of a vibrant entertainment community in downtown Champaign at the time, Doyle said.

But it had fallen in disrepair by the time the park district acquired the building, according to a park district memo. But since then, nearly every aspect of the building has been replaced, refinished or restored.

The park district closed the theater after Ebertfest last year for the final sprint. Some notable changes include compliance with modern safety and wheelchair accessibility standards, like widened doors, elevators and seating areas for 18 patrons in wheelchairs and their companions.”