“We [then] started talking about doing a festival,” said Kohn.
Kohn said unlike other film festivals, Ebertfest does not accept submissions. Instead, each year, Roger – with the help of Kohn and Chaz Ebert – would discuss potential entrants. Kohn said Roger would then devise a list of 20 or 30 possible films, which he would then cut down to 12.
“We still have the list of films we were talking about when Roger was alive,” said Kohn. “We got several films this year from that. The basic criteria was to show films that we thought deserved a second look. … So, we’re still following those general guidelines that were established by Roger.”
A life-sized statue of Ebert will be unveiled at noon Thursday in front of the Virginia Theatre. Kohn said Ebert’s life’s work will continue to flourish for years to come.
“We’re in the process of establishing a Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies,” he said. “The festival will then become part of that center. We expect it will continue in its present form for a long time to come.”
Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.
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[Editor's note: Though all festival badges and tickets for most of the Ebertfest screenings at the Virginia Theatre -- 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, Ill. -- are sold out, there are still a few tickets left for select screenings. "If you want to see a film that is sold out, go to the Virginia Theatre Box Office 30 minutes before screening time and wait in the rush ticket line," according to the Ebertfest website. "Shortly before the film begins, any empty seats will be sold on a first-come first-served basis. At every festival since 2002, all patrons waiting in line for tickets for sold out films were able to get in." Tickets are $14 for each screening; and $12 for students and seniors. Each screening also includes a panel discussion with those involved with the film's production. For more information, call the Virginia Theatre at 217-356-9063.]