The Illinois Ballroom of Champaign’s I-Hotel and Conference Center is hosting the 2nd Annual Chaz & Roger Ebert Symposium on Friday, Sept. 27.
This year’s topic, “Creating an Inclusive Media and Cinema Ecosystem,” grew out of Ebert’s vision of movies as a tool for generating empathy among those of different genders, races, ages, classes or other circumstances. Fostering empathy “is the most noble thing that good movies can do,” he said.
The keynote speaker will be Stacy Smith, founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California. The global think tank made Professor Smith, according to LA Weekly, the most influential person in Los Angeles in 2015 and The Hollywood Reporter named her one of 50 Agents of Change in 2019. She discussed her research on women and girls in film in a 2016 TED Talk.
The symposium, titled “Creating an Inclusive Media and Cinema Ecosystem,” opens at 9 a.m. at the I-Hotel, 1900 S. First St., Champaign. The all-day event is free and open to the public, though online registration is highly encouraged to reserve a spot for selected panel discussions.
9:00 am: Welcome (Chaz Ebert, Vice Chancellor Sean Garrick, Dean Tracy Sulkin)
9:15 am: Keynote Speaker (Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at USC)
9:30 am: Diversity in Film (Moderator: Professor Julie Turnock)
- Allyson Nadia Field, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago
- Cáel M. Keegan, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies at Grand Valley State University
- Gordon Quinn—Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films
- Samantha N. Sheppard, Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University
11:30 pm: Diversity in Journalism (Moderator: Professor Brian K. Johnson)
- Abrar Al-Heeti, CNET
- Janice Collins, Journalism, University of Illinois
- Ben Holden, Journalism, University of Illinois
1:00 pm: Lunchtime and VR Demonstration
VR Headset demonstration will be held in atrium of the I-Hotel’s Conference Space
2:00 pm: Diversity in Advertising & Communication (Moderator: Professor Jason Chambers)
- Shazzia Khan, Global Chief of Staff and Chief Talent Officer, Havas Health and You Adrianne Smith, Founder of the “Cannes Can: Diversity Collective” and formerly of Leo Burnett, Advertising Agency in Chicago
- Ericka Riggs, Foundation and Inclusion Manager, Advertising Club of New York
- Lincoln Stephens, Founder of the Marcus Graham Project
3:30: Special Guest, Moderated by Chaz Ebert & Nate Kohn
- Chaz Ebert, Co-Founder Ebertfest, Roger Ebert Companies
- Nate Kohn, Roger Ebert Film Festival; Peabody Awards