Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ebertfest 2008 speculating

The official Ebertfest website states that this year's line-up will be announced in March, but so far the lists of titles and guests have not materialized. A little information has trickled out, though, which confirms the opening night film and allows for some speculating about other selections.

Traditionally a film in 70mm has kicked off the festival, and this year the slot goes to Kenneth Branagh's HAMLET. Very cool.

The news article lists filmmakers Sally Potter, Paul Schrader, and Fred Schepisi as panelists for the event, so it's fair to assume that each will have a film playing Ebertfest. What might they be? YES and ICEMAN both received four star reviews from Roger Ebert. Schrader's most recent film, THE WALKER, got a positive review and was mostly off the cinematic radar, so I think there's a good chance it will be on the slate.

The event was previously known as Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, but the way the fest has developed has led to "Overlooked" being dropped from the name. It's probably just as well, although perhaps it would apply more to this year's movies. The Reuters article mentions that the critic "is in the process of finalizing the remainder of this year's lineup, which will include several low-budget projects."

As long as I'm tossing out guesses, I wouldn't be stunned if ACROSS THE UNIVERSE turned out to be the closing film. A musical has tended to round out the event, and Ebert loved it. Will the Alloy Orchestra be back? They've played Ebertfest many times, although not last year, so it stands to reason that they might return with something from their current touring repetoire.

We'll find out soon enough as the 10th annual Ebertfest takes place from April 23-27, 2008 in Champaign, Illinois.

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