Update (3/12): Ebertfest 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.
The lineup for the 22nd edition of the Roger Ebert Film Festival is still a work in progress, but Chaz Ebert, the legendary film critic’s widow and Ebertfest emcee, let some cats out of the bag during a Tuesday interview with WDWS 1400-AM.
The April 15 opening night film will be Francis Ford Coppola’s crime drama The Cotton Club, while the Farrelly Brothers’ hit comedy There’s Something About Mary will close the festival on April 18. One of the brother’s Peter Farrelly, who received Best Film and Best Original Screenplay Oscars for Green Book last year, will be present at the event.
In addition to bringing important new or rarely seen movies to Champaign-Urbana, the festival is also known for highlighting works Roger Ebert held in high regard. Although The Cotton Club (1984) polarized critics, Ebert gave it four out of four stars in his review. “After all the rumors, all the negative publicity, all the stories of fights on the set and backstage intrigue and imminent bankruptcy, Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Cotton Club” is, quite simply, a wonderful movie,” he raved.
Ebert also championed the Farrelly Brothers’ raunchy humor in a three-star review. ” “There’s Something About Mary” is an unalloyed exercise in bad taste, and contains five or six explosively funny sequences,” he wrote in 1998. “OK, five explosive, one moderate.”
The Ebertfest Audience Choice poll also closed recently. “An Alfred Hitchcock Film” was the winning entry, with the 1971 cult classic Harold and Maude coming in a close second. So the festival promises to screen “one of Hitchcock’s finest films.”
We’ll keep you posted on the schedule, but if you’re ready to commit, festival passes are already available.