If my sense of desperate longing didn't come across in my interview with Roger Ebert earlier in the week, let me make it clear now: I'm pretty disappointed not to be at Ebertfest 2012. I got to attend the festival last year and had an incredible time watching movies and hanging out with filmmakers and critics from around the country and the entire world. I loved every minute.
Luckily, I've been able to keep up with Ebertfest 2012 from home, thanks to the festival's UStream Channel, where they stream every panel and Q&A live online (as I'm typing this the Alloy Orchestra is onstage at the Virginia Theatre discussing their just-concluded performance). The videos are also archived, so you can go back and watch any of them at any time. It's not as good as being in Champaign, but it's a pretty good substitute for the real thing. Below I've embedded the annual Far Flung Correspondents panel, where Ebert's contributors from all over the globe come together to discuss modern issues in cinema and share stories from their home countries. If you're interested in film criticism on an international scale, I can't recommend this video enough. The perspectives from Egypt, Poland, and so many other places are invaluable.
There's still several more days of programming at Ebertfest, including tomorrow morning's panel on "The Tree of Life," a Q&A with Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon from "Take Shelter" on Saturday night, and a Q&A about "Citizen Kane" with David Bordwell on Sunday. Be sure to consult with the Ebertfest Schedule Page — add a film's length to the screening time listed and you'll have a good idea when to start checking the UStream page — and prepare for an entertaining weekend of vicarious cinephile thrills through your computer screen.
For more from Ebertfest 2012, go to UStream.