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Kris Kristofferson among
guests slated to attend Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Fest
Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor
(217) 333-2894; firstname.lastname@example.org
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Actors
Kris Kristofferson, Robert Forster and Cliff Robertson, along with an
international cast of directors and other special guests, are scheduled
to join film critic Roger Ebert and thousands of film buffs for Eberts
fourth annual Overlooked Film Festival April 24-28 in Champaign-Urbana
and at the University of Illinois.
Kristofferson and author Kaylie Jones will be on hand Thursday evening
(April 25) to discuss "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries,"
which stars Kristofferson and is based on Jones' novel about life with
her father, writer James Jones. (In a change from the previously announced
schedule, the film is being screened on Thursday, switching places with
"Grand Canyon," which now will be shown on Friday.)
Forster, the star of "Diamond Men," will join Ebert and writer,
producer and director Dan Cohen for a discussion following the Saturday
(April 27) screening of their film.
Robertson is a recent addition to the festival, though not connected
with any of this years films. Among his numerous credits are roles
as John F. Kennedy in "PT 109," Hugh Hefner in "Star
80," and as a mentally retarded man in "Charly," for
which he won an Academy Award.
The festival will open on Wednesday evening (April 24) with a newly
remastered 70mm print of "Patton," the 1970 Oscar-winner starring
George C. Scott in the title role. On stage with Ebert following the
film will be Richard Vetter, developer of Dimension 150, the optical
system for 70mm photography and projection used in the film.
All three movies, along with 11 others, will be shown at the historic
1,500-seat Virginia Theater, a 1920s-era movie palace at 203 W. Park
St. in Champaign. All of them will be followed with conversations on
the Virginia stage among Ebert and guests associated with the films.
About 17,500 admissions were sold for last year's films, taking into
account both festival passes and tickets for individual shows. Organizers
are hoping for more than 20,000 admissions this year.
The festival is a special event of the UI College of Communications.
The festival also includes four free panel discussions held on the UI
campus, one of them moderated by Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic
for the Chicago Sun-Times and co-host of the weekly televised movie-review
program "Ebert & Roeper." Ebert also is a 1964 UI journalism
graduate and adjunct professor in the journalism department.
On April 26, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Ebert will sign copies of his
new book, "The Great Movies," on the second floor of the Illini
Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., Champaign.
In making his selections for the festival, Ebert looks for films he
feels have been overlooked by critics, distributors or audiences, and
therefore deserve a second look.
The full schedule of films in the order they will be seen: "Patton"
(United States, 1970), on Wednesday; "Hyenes" (Senegal, 1992),
"George Washington" (United States, 2000), "Wonder Boys"
(United States, 2000), and "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries"
(United Kingdom/United States, 1998), on Thursday; "Kwik Stop"
(United States, 2001), "Two Women" (Iran, 1999), "Innocence"
(Australia, 2000), and "Grand Canyon" (United States, 1991),
on Friday; "Paperhouse" (United States, 1988), "Diamond
Men" (United States, 2000), "Metropolis" (Germany, 1927),
and "Metropolis" (Japan, 2001), on Saturday; and "Say
Amen, Somebody" (United States, 1983) on Sunday.
Also, two film screenings associated with "Ebertfest" recently
were scheduled at campus locations:
"Just a Little Red Dot" will be shown at 3 p.m. Wednesday
(April 24) in Room G13 of the UI Foreign Languages Building, 707 S.
Mathews Ave., Urbana. The screening is for a class, but is free and
open to the public. Based on a true incident of discrimination, the
film encourages young people to challenge racism and celebrate diversity.
The film has traveled to more than 25 film festivals and won 12 international
"On the Ropes," a documentary about boxing shown during last
year's festival, will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Friday (April 26) in Room
101 of the Armory, 505 E. Armory St., Champaign. The film tells four
stories centered on a Brooklyn neighborhood gym that produced boxing
champions such as Riddick Bowe and Mark Breland. George Walton and Tyrene
Manson Walton, featured in the film, will be present and will answer
Other guests who will take part in the festival, including the panel
The Alloy Orchestra, a three-man musical ensemble from Cambridge, Mass.,
which writes and performs live accompaniment to classic silent films,
using an assortment of peculiar objects. The group will provide the
live accompaniment for the festival showing of the Fritz Lang-directed
silent classic Metropolis.
Michael Barker, president of Sony Classics.
The Barrett Sisters, a Gospel trio from Chicago featured in the documentary
film "Say Amen, Somebody," about the pioneers of Gospel music.
Sisters Billie, DeLois and Rodessa will perform on the Virginia Theater
stage following the Sunday screening of the film, the last day of the
James Berardinelli, a Web-based film critic whose ReelViews Web site
contains more than 1,600 movie reviews.
Dusty and Joan Cohl, founders of the Toronto Film Festival and the Floating
Curtis Cotton III, one of the stars of "George Washington,"
a coming-of-age story set during some slow summer days in a decaying
Paul Cox, director of "Innocence," a love story about two
older people who find that youthful passion has not faded. Cox is one
of the most prolific and honored filmmakers in Australia, with more
than 25 features and documentaries to his name.
Brand Fortner, founder of Spyglass and senior research scientist, Applied
Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University.
Steve Garfinkel, Kodak regional account manager, U.S. East, feature
Michael Gilio, writer and director of "Kwik Stop," an film
made in Chicago that begins as a road picture and detours into psychological
drama. Gilio began his screenwriting and acting careers in Chicago,
and has numerous film and television credits to his name, among them
a co-starring role with Sidney Poitier in "To Sir With Love 2."
Paul Grabowsky, composer of the music for "Innocence."
David Gordon Green, first-time director of "George Washington."
Tom Holman, president of TMH Corp., professor of film sound at the University
of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, and a principal
investigator in the university's Integrated Media Systems Center. Holman
won an Academy Award for his contribution to the improvement of motion
picture loudspeaker systems.
Lorr Kramer, director of Special Technical Projects at Digital Theater
Drew "Moriarity" McWeeny, West Coast editor of "Ain't
It Cool News," who will join Ebert in discussing the new Japanese
anime film "Metropolis."
Tahmineh Milani, director of "Two Women," an Iranian film
about a woman who is allowed the independence to go to university, up
to a point. She will be traveling to Illinois from Iran.
George T. Nierenberg, director of "Say Amen, Somebody." The
film is one of a series growing out of Nierenbergs fascination
with the roots of American music and dance.
Terry Norris, one of the stars of "Innocence" and one of Australias
most prominent television actors, with a career spanning more than four
David Poland, a Web-based film critic who runs a site called The Hot
Bernard Rose, director of "Paperhouse," his first feature
film, about a young teen whose dreams begin to merge into real life.
Rose won a BBC award for young filmmakers as a teenager, and has directed
BBC television programs and numerous music videos.
Mitra Sen, writer, director and producer of "Just a Little Red
Paul Speaker, president of Madstone Films.
Rachel Tenner, producer of "Kwik Stop" and a partner in the
Chicago-based casting agency Tenner and Paskal Casting. Among the agencys
casting credits are the films "What Women Want," "The
Negotiator" and "Fargo."
Marila Zarei, star of "Two Women." She will be coming
to Illinois from Iran.
Dates, times and topics for the four free public panel discussions,
all to be held in the General Lounge, second floor north, of the Illini
Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana:
Thursday, April 25
9-10:30 a.m., "The New Realities of Distributing Independent Films,"
moderated by Ebert.
10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., "Sex and Death vs. Love and Life: Women
and Power in Hollywood," moderated by Andrea Press, director of
the UI Media Studies Program, in the Institute for Communications Research.
Friday, April 26
9-10:30 a.m., "Picture and Sound in Film," moderated by Geoffrey
Poor, owner of Balanced Audio Technology, Champaign.
10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., "Race and Gender Beyond Grand Canyon,
" moderated by Christine Catanzarite, associate director of the
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.
Joining invited guests on the panels will be UI professors James Hay,
speech communication; Fred Jaher, history; Richard J. Leskosky, cinema
studies, and Patricia Gill and Angharad Valdivia, both from the Institute
for Communications Research.
In another event associated with the festival, Robert Forster, perhaps
best known for his role in the film "Jackie Brown," will present
"Interacting," a motivational speaking program, at 10:30 a.m.
Saturday (April 27) in Room 66 Library, 1408 W. Gregory St., Urbana.
The program is free and open to the public. Additional information can
be found at www.robertforster.com.
Festival passes are $50 and tickets for individual films are $6. Both
are on sale at the theater box office, (217) 356-9053. Passes also may
be purchased online at www.ebertfest.com.
For more information, visit the Web site at www.ebertfest.com or contact
Mary Susan Britt, the festivals assistant director, at email@example.com
or (217) 244-0552; or Nate Kohn, the festival director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (706) 542-4972.