16th Annual Ebertfest

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Here it comes.  Woo Hoo!

The 16th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, or more informally known here in town as Ebertfest, starts tomorrow evening.  Technically it starts tonight, but that screening, at the University, is for students.  It’s a good one though, the original The Taking of Pelham, One, Two, Three.  Alas, we won’t be seeing that one.  We will start tomorrow evening, alongside other fest goers, for the viewing of a documentary of Roger Ebert’s life called Life Itself.  I can hardly wait.

I just got done reviewing the line-up.  12 films over five days.  It’s a diverse group, which is lovely and something I look forward to every year.  These are, for the most part, quiet lesser known films.  Sure, this year we’ll be seeing Do The Right Thing and Born on the Fourth of July, but other films, directed by women from Saudi Arabia and China, aren’t known to me at all.  There’s also a 1924 silent, accompanied by a local orchestra, and a documentary about a New Orleans musician.

Film immersion.  For five days, starting with the Wednesday evening screening and ending with the one film at noon on Sunday, we will be in it.  In it with 1600 other film buffs who look forward to and live for this experience every year.  Community, a shared experience, love of film, love of different ideas and ways of looking at the world, love of hearing voices that are not our own and that we may have never heard before.  Stories told with grace, humor, angst, and a passion that becomes contagious.

The festival starts tomorrow… and I can’t wait.