Ebertfest 2013: Day 1
I Remember (short)
- Grace Wange (writer/director)
- June Kim (director of photography)
- Haskell Wexler (director of photography)
The movie theater experience can be hit or miss depending on the crowd and venue. Is there anything worse than hearing other peoples' conversations while constantly shifting in an uncomfortable chair, only to come to the realization that the trip to the theater was the worst decision of your day? Thankfully, you won't have to worry about those kinds of problems when visiting The Virginia, especially during Ebertfest. From the quality films, candid celebrity Q & A, aesthetic environment, and respectful patrons, Ebertfest is one of the best movie-going experiences you will ever have. It is because of these factors that the possibility of getting caught in a downpour while standing in the massive line to enter the iconic theater didn't dampen my anticipation, or that of fellow slacker, Derek Clem.
Chaz took to the stage of the newly renovated theater to a standing ovation and welcomed us to the festival; sadness from the recent loss of her husband crept through in her voice. "Thank you for giving me someplace to go today. I needed this", she said to a humbled audience. She mentions that Roger wanted the festival to continue after his passing, and that "tonight we're going to celebrate Roger" - applause erupts from the crowd. Before introducing the first film of the night she informs us that this year's festival is dedicated to Haskell Wexler, who is in attendance to represent Days of Heaven, and that there is a special sing along planned by Roger to start after the short film I Remember.
|It's hard to see, but Chaz is wearing Roger's scarf|
Next, Chaz delivered the promise of a sing-a-long to "Those Were the Days" with new lyrics by Roger, which was led by the UI Black Chorus.
Once upon a time there was a theater,
Where we used to see a film or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And dreamed of all the great things we would do
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way
When the Q&A was over we ran into another fellow slacker, Tracy Allison, who was also taken by the film. Derek was able to snag an autograph from Wexler before leaving, and when the icon took a look at the DVD cover for One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, he said, "Oh, Jack! I go to basketball games with him." The man seemed tired and was in high demand from fans, so we didn't pester him with any more questions. Overall, it was a great night at the movies with an excellent crowd. If you haven't seen Days of Heaven, I highly recommend it.
You can look forward to Thursday's rundown from Andy Schopp, which features main guest, Jack Black. Black is representing his film Bernie, which shows a mature performance from the comedic actor. Hopefully he doesn't get held back by scheduling conflicts like Patton Oswalt did last year. If you don't have tickets for the sold out festival, you can always stand in the rush line in the hopes that something will become available. Apparently, in the festival's history, they've never turned down attendees. I can't verify that information, but if you need the inspiration to give it a shot, I can't think of anything more reassuring than that.