College of Media | News

Ebertfest receives Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grant

12/12/2012  8:00 am

The 15th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival has received a 2013 film festival grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The festival, also known as “Ebertfest,” will receive $20,000 to help pay costs associated with question and answer sessions and panel discussions—both signature components of the festival.


We are honored to receive the support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” said Mary Susan Britt, associate director of Ebertfest. “The grant will ensure that Ebertfest continues to bring a rich experience to attendees, and we cannot thank the Academy enough for believing in Roger's mission of sharing his love of film with our community of film lovers from around the world. "  


Implemented in 1999, the Film Festival Grants program has awarded $5.3 million to film festivals nationwide, and Ebertfest has previously received four grants. The grant will make Ebertfest events more accessible to the public and strengthen the connection between filmmakers and the public, two important elements of the Film Festival Grants program.


Ebertfest is a five-day film festival created, hosted and programmed by Pulitzer Prize-winning and acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert. Each year, Ebert selects 12 to 14 films  representing a cross-section of cinematic works that he believes may be overlooked by audiences, critics and distributors. Entries include films with no distributor, independent and studio films with small audiences, formats such as 70mm and less popular genres such as documentaries.


A 1964 journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ebert presents the festival through the university’s College of Media. All films are screened at the 1,500-seat Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, a restored movie palace built in the 1920s. A portion of the festival’s income is devoted to the theatre’s ongoing renovations.


Following each screening, Ebert leads question-and-answer sessions with filmmaker guests. Panel discussions are also held Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings at the Illini Union Pine Lounge, First Floor—1401 Green Street, Urbana, Ill., featuring filmmaker panelists and film scholars.


The slate of films and filmmakers featured at Ebertfest 2013 will be announced in March 2013. Previously, the festival has hosted a variety of renowned filmmakers, including Stephen Goldblatt (Joe Versus the Volcano), Tilda Swinton (I Am Love), Richard Linklater (Me & Orson Welles ), Ang Lee (Hulk), Carl Deal & Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water), Robert Siegel (Big Fan), Alrick Brown (Kinyarwanda), Jacob Wysocki (Terri), Alloy Orchestra, Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter).


Ebertfest 2013 festival passes are now on sale, and individual tickets will be available for purchase starting April 1, 2013. For more information, visit or connect with Ebertfest on Facebook ( or Twitter (@ebertfest).