Ebertfest 2022 Announces Complete Lineup, Will Be Dedicated to Sidney Poitier and Gilbert Gottfried

The 22nd Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, co-founded and hosted by Chaz Ebert and also known as “Ebertfest,” will be dedicated to the memories of trailblazing actor and Oscar-winner Sidney Poitier (1927-2022) and beloved comedian Gilbert Gottfried (1955-2022). Chaz Ebert, on behalf of herself and everyone at Ebertfest, extends the deepest condolences to the families of Mr. Poitier and Mr. Gottfried. Here is a rough cut of our tribute to Mr. Poitier…

Ebertfest is pleased to announce additional actors and musicians that will appear as guests at this year’s festival, as well as a bonus film to be added to an already full slate of movies for its 2022 event. Actors Thora Birch and Betsy Sodaro join a large group of filmmakers already announced for this year’s festival.

Acting since age 4, Birch’s credits include iconic roles in movies such as “Ghost World,” which is featured in this year’s Ebertfest; “American Beauty,” “Now and Then” and “Hocus Pocus.” Birch has won SAG Awards and multiple Young Artist Awards, and has been nominated for Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA awards.

Sodaro achieved stardom in the 2015 TV series “Clipped” and in the small screen’s “Disjointed” from 2017-18, among many other roles in her career. An actor in the Ebertfest film “Golden Arm,” Sodaro joins other guests from the movie including actor Olivia Stambouliah; writers Ann Marie Allison and Jenna Milly; and producer Brigid Brakefield.

The movie “Soy Cubana” will be followed by a musical performance from a band of current and former University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Latin Jazz Combo musicians, featuring guest vocalist Stephanie Woods Machado and musical director Tito Carrillo. The band will perform rhythms inspired by the movie’s Afro-Cuban music.

An additional special guest attending Ebertfest this year is executive producer Chris Kelly. Associated with acclaimed independent films including “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” “Olive” and “Once Upon a Time in Queens,” Kelly also is a co-owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. He will join Chaz Ebert in moderating the discussion about Gilbert Gottfried after the screening of the movie “Gilbert.” 

A short movie, “Lifeline,” and a 13th feature-length film will be included in the schedule this year, instead of panel discussions. “The Phantom of the Open” tells the remarkable true story of Maurice Flitcroft, a crane operator and optimistic dreamer who, with the support of his family and friends, managed to gain entry to the 1976 British Open qualifier despite never playing a round of golf before.     

The 22nd annual festival program lineup is available at http://www.ebertfest.com/film-schedule, and can be glimpsed in the summary below…

Wednesday, April 20th

7:00pm Summer of Soul (2021) 117 mins

Thursday, April 21st

9:30am Phantom of the Open (2022), 106 mins

1:30pm The 39 Steps (1935) 86 mins

4:00pm Gilbert (2017) 94 mins

8:00pm French Exit (2021) 110 mins

Friday, April 22nd

9:30am Lifeline (2021, short film), followed by Passing (2021) 98 mins

2:00pm Golden Arm (2020) 90 mins

4:30pm The White Tiger (2021) 125 mins

8:30pm Ghost World (2001) 111 mins

Saturday, April 23rd

10:00am Siren of the Tropics (1927) 87 mins with Renee Baker and the Chicago Modern Orchestra

1:30pm Krisha (2016) 83 mins

4:00pm Soy Cubana (2021) 79 mins

8:30pm Nightmare Alley (2021) 150 mins

Special guests for this year’s festival include: 

  • Directors: Neil Berkeley, Azazel Jacobs, Ramin Bahrani, Terry Zwigoff, Jeremy Unger, Guillermo del Toro
  • Producers: Jason Delane Lee, Yvonne Huff Lee, Brenda Robinson, Brigid Brakefield, Robin Ungar 
  • Screenwriters: Kim Morgan, Ann Marie Allison, Jenna Milly
  • Actors: Krisha Fairchild, Olivia Stamouliah, Betsy Sodaro, Thora Birch, Jason Delane Lee, Yvonne Huff Lee 
  • Singers and Musicians: Renee Baker and the Chicago Modern Orchestra, Clem Snide, Tammy McCann, Aplustrodamus and Ther’Up.Y, Tito Carillo and the Latin Jazz Ensemble.
  • Additional filmmakers, critics and academics: Sony Pictures Classics co-founder Michael Barker;  Fandor Executives: Chris Kelly, Kerry Ryan and Krystal Vander Ark;  Critics Nick Allen, Matt Fagerholm, Chuck Koplinski, Nell Minow, Michael Phillips, Eric Pierson, Pamela Powell and Brian Tallerico

Passes are available for $200, including all processing fees. Four passes purchased together are $700. Also available are a small number of University of Illinois student passes priced at $150 each. Passes and individual movie tickets – $20 for the general public or $15 for U. of I. students – may be purchased through the festival website or at the Virginia Theatre box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, 217-356-9063. Updates will be posted on the festival website.

Roger Ebert’s Film Festival is a special event of Chaz Ebert and the College of Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. For additional information, visit http://www.ebertfest.com.  

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