2021 Roger Ebert’s Film Festival moved to September

Roger Ebert's Film Festival will be in September 2021, rather than April.

Roger Ebert’s Film Festival will be in September 2021, rather than April.

Photo by Thomson Reuters

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, co-founded and hosted by Chaz Ebert, will return next year, but five months later than planned.

“Ebertfest” was canceled this spring, along with other University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign activities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was scheduled to return to the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign at its usual time in April, but organizers announced today the 2021 event would be Sept. 8-11 instead.

“Our dilemma is that we still find ourselves in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic and, while we hope for a vaccine, the future still remains far from certain,” Chaz Ebert said.

The festival has held several online events since the spring, and organizers are planning more, Ebert said. “However, we believe that the heart of Ebertfest remains the community that our audience, film critics and filmmakers build each year when they come together in person. Next year, we want to give the festival every opportunity to happen in the format that we all love, and come back as strong as ever.”

Festival passes covering the full schedule of films will go on sale online Jan. 4. Those holding passes for the canceled 2020 festival can use them for the 2021 event.

Sponsored by the U. of I. College of Media and Chaz Ebert, the festival presents celebrated films and other cinematic works overlooked by audiences, critics or distributors.

Roger Ebert was an Urbana native, U. of I. journalism graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times who died in 2013. He co-founded the festival with his wife, Chaz, in 1999.

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