Overlooked Film Festival

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Roger Ebert today announced the ten films that he will show at the first "Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival" to be held April 21-25, 1999, at the historic Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois, and at the University of Illinois College of Communications, which is organizing this unique event.

UIUC Journalism graduate Roger Ebert (BS ‘64), famed film critic, Pulitzer Prize winning author, co-host of "Siskel and Ebert," and former Daily Illini Editor will personally host the festival. The following films, selected by Ebert, represent a cross section of important cinematic works that have been overlooked by audiences, critics, and distributors. Ebert feels strongly that these motion pictures deserve a second look and a second chance. Toward that end, he is bringing the films and many of their producers, directors, and stars to Champaign, Illinois, to help showcase these films for general audiences, distributors, and critics from around the world. The ten films are listed below. Detailed information on each film can be found at the festival website at www.ebertfest.com.

1. "Dance Me to My Song" (Australia, 1998), written by and starring the remarkable Heather Rose, takes place in Australia, and tells the story of a young woman trapped in a wheelchair by cerebral palsy, and trapped psychologically by a cruel, manipulative caregiver.

2. "Household Saints" (USA, 1993), written and directed by Nancy Savoca and starring Lili Taylor and Tracey Ullman, is about Italian Americans in New York City who begin with a form of madness they are comfortable with, and end with a madness only a saint could understand.

3. "Thirteen" (USA, 1997), directed by David D. Williams, is in some ways like Werner Herzog's "Little Dieter Needs to Fly" and Nicholas Barker's "Unmade Beds;" it uses actual lives as materials to be shaped into fiction. The result is one of the truest films about the ebb and flow of a real relationship, not one pumped up by a plot and a crisis and resolution, but one in which time flows and small changes accumulate.

4. "Battleship Potemkin" (Soviet Union, 1925), the Eisenstein classic, will be projected using a rare 35 mm print. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by the Concrete Orchestra.

5. "Maborosi" (Japan, 1995), directed by Hirokazu Kore-Eda and written by Yoshihisa Ogita, is a Japanese film of astonishing beauty and sadness, the story of a woman whose happiness is destroyed in an instant by an event that seems to have no reason.

6. "Surrender Dorothy" (USA, 1998), directed by and starring Kevin Di Novis, is startling, gripping, disturbing, and out on the film making edge, as it follows a twisted, co-dependent relationship that spirals into ever-darker territory.

7. "Shiloh" (USA, 1997), directed by Dale Rosenbloom and starring Michael Moriarty, Rod Steiger, Blake Heron, Scott Wilson, and Bonnie Bartlett, is much more than a story of a boy and his dog; it is about growing up and taking responsibility. Most of all, it is about the fierce emotions that children have about pets.

8. "Autumn Tale" (France, 1998), written and directed by Eric Rohmer, is the final chapter in the director's "Tales of the Four Seasons," and is as sublimely warming an experience as the autumn sun that shines benevolently on the vineyard owned by the film's central character, Magali (Beatrice Romond).

9. "Hamsun" (Sweden, 1996), directed by Jan Troell and starring Max von Sydow, tells the epic story of author Knut Hamsun, the Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist and starry-eyed nationalist, who was regarded as a god in his homeland until he took up the Nazi cause during World War II.

10. "Tron" (USA, 1982), written and directed by Steven Lisberger and starring Jeff Bridges, is a dazzling movie from Walt Disney in which computers are used to make themselves romantic and glamorous -- a technological sound-and-light show that is sensational and brainy, stylish, and fun.

All films will be shown at the historic Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park, Champaign, IL. Roger Ebert and guests will be on stage before and after each film and will engage the audience in discussions about the films. Tickets are $5 for each screening or $30 for a pass for the entire festival, and are available from the Virginia Theatre box office at (217) 356-9063.

In addition to screenings, there will a number of academic and professional panel discussions at the University of Illinois. Most will be moderated by Roger Ebert and will feature festival guests and scholars from academia.

"Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival" is a non-profit production of the University of Illinois College of Communications and is funded in part by the following sponsors: Brand Fortner, Chicago Sun-Times, The Greater Champaign-Urbana Economic Partnership, UIUC, American Airlines/American Eagle and their international partner, Qantas Airways, Trustee and Mrs. Roger Plummer, The News-Gazette, NewsTalk 1400 WDWS, Roger Ebert, Betsy Hendrick, The Busey Family of Financial Services, UIUC Division of Rehabilitation-Education Services, WLRW, David Bushman, Carolyn and Joe Phebus, Radisson Suite Hotel, WCIA, WICD, WBBM-Chicago and The Daily Illini.

For more information, see the website at www.ebertfest.com or contact: Nickie Dalton at n-dalton@uiuc.edu; (217)-333-2350; Fax: (217)-333-9882; or Festival Director Nate Kohn at n-kohn@uiuc.edu. or (706) 542-4972.