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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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1. Roger Ebert

The legendary film critic may have passed away in 2013, but his legacy lives on in the festival he founded in his home town.
Via vimeo.com

The legendary film critic may have passed away in 2013, but his legacy lives on in the festival he founded in his home town.

2. The Tilda Swinton Dance Party

View this video on YouTube

Shatterglass Studios / Via m.youtube.com

You know you want to dance along with Tilda Swinton.

3. Get up close to your favorite directors

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

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

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

5. International Films

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!
Wadjda, copyright 2012 / Via youtube.com

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 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.
Alloy Orchestra / Via alloyorchestra.com

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.

7. The grandeur of the Virginia Theatre

The nearly century-old theater was recently restored and has been inducted into the National Register of Historic Places.
Anna Zorn / Via thevirginia.org

The nearly century-old theater was recently restored and has been inducted into the National Register of Historic Places.

8. Discover your next favorite movie

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

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

View this video on YouTube

Ebertfest / Via youtube.com

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.

10. The Food Trucks

A variety of food trucks stand ready during every break for you to replenish yourself. If you're lucky, the Steak n' Shake Food Truck will make an appearance.
wikipedia

A variety of food trucks stand ready during every break for you to replenish yourself. If you're lucky, the Steak n' Shake Food Truck will make an appearance.

11. The Audience

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!
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!

12. Popcorn

The concessions stand adds a lot to the experience of Ebertfest. How can you watch movies without fresh popcorn???
The Virginia Theatre / Via thevirginia.org

The concessions stand adds a lot to the experience of Ebertfest. How can you watch movies without fresh popcorn???

13. Downtown Champaign

The festival is located in charming downtown Champaign, with tons of top notch restaurants and bars within walking distance. Why not grab a pint at the Blind Pig Brewery between showings?
Wikipedia / Via en.wikipedia.org

The festival is located in charming downtown Champaign, with tons of top notch restaurants and bars within walking distance. Why not grab a pint at the Blind Pig Brewery between showings?

14. Accessibility

The festival is held only a few blocks away from the Illinois Terminal, with Amtrak lines from Chicago and Carbondale. Champaign-Urbana also has one of the best mass transit districts in the United States, so getting around is a piece of cake! Visit CUMTD.com to plan your route!
CUMTD / Via en.wikipedia.org

The festival is held only a few blocks away from the Illinois Terminal, with Amtrak lines from Chicago and Carbondale. Champaign-Urbana also has one of the best mass transit districts in the United States, so getting around is a piece of cake! Visit CUMTD.com to plan your route!

15. Roger's Statue

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.
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 Ebertfest.com!

Virginia Theatre / Via thevirginia.org
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