“Life Itself” to screen at Ebertfest in April

Life Itself, director Steve James' feature doc about Roger Ebert (pictured), will screen at the late film critic's namesake festival in April.
January 17, 2014

Life Itself, director Steve James’ documentary about Roger Ebert (pictured) will screen at the late film critic’s namesake festival in April.

The documentary, which will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next week, is among the 12 films set to screen at Roger Ebert’s Film Festival – or Ebertfest – which takes place in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois from April 23 to 27.

Based on Ebert’s 2011 memoir of the same name, the film features interviews with his friends, family, colleagues and filmmakers such as Werner Herzog, Ramin Bahrani and Martin Scorsese, who also served as an executive producer on the doc.

“We tend to think of most film critics – rightly or wrongly – as spending an inordinate amount of time in dark rooms and sitting down to write,” James told realscreen in an interview about the film. “Roger, of course, did all that but he also managed to have quite a varied life experience along the way.

“In a sense, the memoir is an inspiration for the film,” he added. “I also wanted to make it unmistakably my view on Roger and his life. You feel very much like he is your guide through this story but we don’t let it be exclusively through his eyes. I started out wanting to interview eight people and I wound up interviewing over two dozen people and I could’ve interviewed over 100 people.”

James will attend the screening, which is sponsored by Steak ‘n Shake, a diner chain that is the subject of a chapter in Ebert’s book.

The full slate of films screening at this year’s Ebertfest will be announced in March.

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