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article imageRoger Ebert film festival will continue; reactions noted, too

By Tim O'Brien     Apr 5, 2013 in Entertainment
Chicago - It is only fitting that a film festival that bears Roger Ebert's name will continue. It was announced today (April 5) that Ebertfest will indeed go on later this month.
The annual fest will still take place despite the loss of its founder. A statement from an Ebertfest spokesperson, in part said: "All of us at Ebertfest are very saddened by the news of our dear friend Roger's passing. He was a remarkable man who influenced journalists and film lovers the world over. The 15th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival will take place as scheduled April 17-21."
The festival takes place in Champaign, Illinois, home of the University of Illinois, the place where Ebert studied and graduated. He continued his strong ties the university over the years.
Not only that, the festival will open with Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven." In their release, it stated, It is "above all one of the most beautiful films ever made," Ebert said in a 1997 review. It continued, "So it's only appropriate that the film will open the 15th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival on April 17 in the big-screen, newly renovated Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign."
Meanwhile, reactions have been plenty from the president of the United States to Hollywood itself. Also, words from Ebert himself inspired and invoked sadness.
His wife Chaz released a statement late Thursday: In it it talked of their love. We had a lovely, lovely life together, more beautiful and epic than a movie. It had its highs and the lows, but was always experienced with good humor, grace and a deep abiding love for each other," She noted.
One of the reasons why it was somewhat of a shock that Ebert passed away suddenly was because he blogged that he would be back, plus this from his wife. "We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition," she said in the statement.
Twitter praise kept his name trending for most of the day and night on Thursday as well. Here are a few samples.
Barack Obama@BarackObama
"The movies won't be the same without Roger." - President Obama
Roger Ebert will be revered for his contribution to filmmaking and to our city.
West Wing Reports ‏@WestWingReport
Roger Ebert was as Chicago as Mike Royko, Harry Caray or Studs Terkel. Chicago guys with a gift for words. Miss 'em.
Ebertfest ‏@ebertfest
For the love of film. He will live on in our hearts.
Ebert was a Chicago Sun-Times columnist for more than 40 years and was the first film critic to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Many know him from his movie review TV show he hosted with Gene Siskel (Chicago Tribune). It spawned many copycats along the way, but it was their "Thumbs Up" style that stuck on viewers minds and hearts.
For a complete schedule for the upcoming film festival, head here. Ebert took to his own blog to describe his "leave of presence" and left the world with these words. "Thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."
For a reaction the author of this piece, head here.
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