Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


April 23, 2014

Thumbs up for Ebertfest

Now in its 16th year, Roger Ebert's film festival lives on


“Those discussions are really in-depth explorations of the film,” said Kohn, who is also an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and serves as associate director of the George Foster Peabody Awards. “We open it up to questions from the audience for about the last 20 minutes or half hour of that.”

The Alloy Orchestra of Cambridge, Mass. will help fulfill another festival staple at 1 p.m. Friday as it plays musical accompaniment to a silent film, this year is 1924's "He Who Gets Slapped."

Patton Oswalt was scheduled to appear at the 2012 festival to help Robert Seigel, director, present “Big Fan” — the 2009 film in which he starred — and the 1949 movie “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” but was unable to due to filming conflicts.

“Roger, if you and Ebertfest will take a chance on me … I will task my agents and managers to keep those days sacred, and not try to pull off the last-minute, no-sleep derring-do we tried and failed to do this year,” wrote Oswalt on his website April 25, 2012.

The following day, Ebert commended Oswalt for his forthrightness.

“Patton Oswalt can't come to Ebertfest,” Ebert wrote on Twitter April 26, 2012. “But he is transcendently graceful about explaining why not. This is a nice man.”

True to his word, Oswalt presented a free student screening of the original 1974 version of “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” Tuesday night at the Foellinger Auditorium on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. And at 9 p.m. Thursday he will show “Young Adult,” the 2011 film in which he starred, at the Virginia Theatre.

Ebertfest – originally called Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival – is organized by the university’s College of Media. A 1997 festival at the school called Cyberfest provided the impetus for Ebertfest. The occasion was an Ebert-hosted screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey” on the supposed “birthday” of the film’s infamous HAL 9000 computer. (Which was supposedly Jan. 12, 1997 in Urbana, Ill.) The discussions surrounding the projection of the film in its original, 70mm format led organizers to the Virginia Theatre.

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