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Ebertfest: The Best Film Festival In Illinois

Founded by Roger Ebert in 1999, Ebertfest is an annual film festival in Champaign, IL. Here are the top 15 reasons Ebertfest is the best film festival in the state.

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2. The Tilda Swinton Dance Party

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Shatterglass Studios / Via

You know you want to dance along with Tilda Swinton.

3. Get up close to your favorite directors

Sierra Clark

Guillermo del Toro, Werner Herzog and Spike Lee are just a few of the master filmmakers who have graced the festival with their presence.

4. Intriguing Panel Discussions

Andrew Nygard

With awesome moderators like writers and editors from The best part is when the filmmakers dish the dirt on their contemporaries. (Sorry Bill Murray!)

5. International Films

Wadjda, copyright 2012 / Via

Ebertfest is very much an international film festival, playing historic achievements like Wadjda, the first feature film in Saudi Arabi directed by a female director. See the full 2014 panel discussion with director Haifaa Al-Mansou by following the link here!

6. Alloy Orchestra

Alloy Orchestra / Via

Alloy Orchestra is a musical ensemble that accompanies old silent films with the most interesting assortment of instruments you will ever see (and hear) in your life. Their performances are without a doubt one of the major highlights of the film festival.

8. Discover your next favorite movie

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Ebertfest celebrates films from every era of filmmaking that were not originally acknowledged for the gems that they are, like 2014 biopic Love and Mercy.

9. Chaz Ebert

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Ebertfest / Via

Chaz is Roger Ebert's widow and the heart and soul of Ebertfest. She MCs the festival every year, and her warmth and passion for film sets the mood for the entire event.

11. The Audience

Anna Zorn

Countless filmmakers and actors have remarked on the awesome spirit of the audience at Ebertfest. They're welcoming, enthusiastic, and they ask great questions during the Q&A sessions!

15. Roger's Statue

Anne Lukeman

You have to take a picture with the Roger Ebert statue if you go to Ebertfest. It's an unspoken rule. And it doesn't count unless you give two thumbs up.

So now that you can't wait to check out the best film festival in Illinois, you can find more information and book your tickets for Ebertfest 2017, April 19th-23rd by going to!

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