Some details for the 19th annual Ebertfest — April 19-23 — are coming at you: They've announced the first guests of the festival. Check it out below, and look back at previous years here.

From the press release:


"ELLE" and "NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU" to screen at the 19th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival taking place April 19-23, 2017 in Champaign, IL

“This year's festival is dedicated to four principles that have proven to be more vital than ever: Empathy, Compassion, Kindness and Forgiveness,” said Chaz Ebert. “It is these principles, particularly the first one, which Roger believed cinema could generate through the ingenuity of its craft. That is why I am also dedicating the festival to the Champaign County Alliance for the Promotion of Acceptance, Inclusion and Respect, a group dedicated to challenging preconceived notions about mental illness, addressing discrimination against people with developmental/intellectual disabilities, and assisting people with substance use disorders. By removing the stigmas associated with one's identity, this organization stands as an indelible force of empathy in society.”

ELLE (2016)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, 130 Mins, DCP
Special Guest Isabelle Huppert will be in attendance

Starring Academy Award® Nominee and Golden Globes Winner Isabelle Huppert, ELLE is a psychological thriller directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by David Birke, based on the novel Oh... by Philippe Djian. Michèle seems indestructible. Head of a successful video game company, she brings the same ruthless attitude to her love life as to business. Being attacked in her home by an unknown assailant changes Michèle's life forever. When she resolutely tracks the man down, they are both drawn into a curious and thrilling game–a game that may, at any moment, spiral out of control.

In her 4 star review on, Sheila O’Malley describes ELLE as “a high-wire act without a net... a maniacal and confident hybrid of various genres. It's a rape-revenge-ensemble-comedy-thriller-stalker mashup, if you can even picture that.”


Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, 91 Mins, DCP
Special Guests Norman Lear, Brent Miller, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady will be in attendance 

Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU delves into the life of Norman Lear, one of the most influential creators, writers, and producers in the history of television, and

features interviews with Norman Lear, George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Rob Reiner, Amy Poehler and Phil Rosenthal.

Chaz Ebert said, “Lear was responsible for placing more African-American characters in prime time network series (‘Sanford and Son,’ ‘Good Times,’ ‘Maude,’ ‘The Jeffersons’) than any other single person in the history of television. His insistence on using comedy to tackle real issues of the day such as racism, abortion and feminism changed the face of television. And appearances in the film by George Clooney, Mel Brooks, Carl and Rob Reiner, Bill Moyers, Russell Simmons, Alan Horn, Amy Poehler, Jon Stewart, Esther Rolle and John Amos help to explain Lear’s place in the pantheon. As if Lear’s groundbreaking television work wasn’t enough, he also bought one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence and toured it around the country so that people of all ages and races could touch it and read it and contemplate the principles upon which this country was founded.”

Ebertfest will take place April 19-23, 2017 in Champaign, IL at the Virginia Theatre. The full schedule of films will be announced in the coming weeks.

Major filmmakers, stars, historians, critics and film-lovers from all over the world come to experience this annual celebration that includes films from lists Roger drew up over the first 15 years of the festival, as well as others selected by Chaz Ebert and Festival Director Nate Kohn based on Roger’s established criteria for an Ebertfest film.

Festival passes are available for $150, plus processing, and for the first time, festival-goers will receive a discount when they purchase a four-pack priced at $510 instead of $600, or 15 percent off. Additionally, a small number of U. of I. student passes will be made available priced at $100 each. Tickets for individual movies will be available April 1. Admission is $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors. All passes can be purchased through, or at the Virginia Theater box office, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, 217-356-9063.

Ebertfest is a special event held in collaboration with the College of Media at the University of Illinois. For additional information, please visit