The 18th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival hosted by Chaz Ebert – also known as “Ebertfest” – announced today the final slate of films in this year’s festival, including Stephen Apkon’s “Disturbing the Peace,” Paul Weitz’s “Grandma” and Bill Pohlad’s “Love & Mercy.”
The festival has also announced a slew of special guests, including film critics Leonard Maltin, Michael Phillips, Matt Zoller Seitz, Nell Minow, Shawn Edwards, Richard Neupert, Nick Allen, Chuck Koplinski, Eric Pierson, Brian Tallerico and Matt Fagerholm, as well as The Alloy Orchestra, Sony Classics co-president Michael Barker, filmmaker Christine Swanson and production executive Stephen Feder. That group joins already-announced guests like director Guillermo del Toro, critic Gil Robertson, actress Nancy Allen, composer Renee Baker & The Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, filmmaker Paul Cox, crew veteran Angela Allen and director Michael Polish.
Check out the new additions to the slate, with all synopses provided by Ebertfest.
“Disturbing the Peace”
Directed by Stephen Apkon, 82 mins, DCP
Director/Producer Stephen Apkon, Director/Cinematographer Andrew Young, film subjects Chen Alon (Israeli) and Sulaiman Khatib (Palestinian) and story consultant Marcina Hale will be in attendance
“Disturbing the Peace” is a brand new documentary that follows a group of former enemy combatants – Israeli soldiers from the most elite units, and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison – who have come together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film traces their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to non-violent peace activists. It is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us, and with the power of our convictions take action to create a new possibility.
Directed by Paul Weitz, 82 mins, DCP
Director Paul Weitz and Producer Andrew Miano will be in attendance
Starring Lily Tomlin and Julia Garner. Rogerebert.com’s Glenn Kenny wrote: “The film’s politics—including the way the movie doesn’t just ‘pass’ the ‘Bechdel Test’ but gets 100 on it—are only a part of this really special movie. The other part is, yes, the humanity. The way the movie shows the toll taken by bonds sundered, and the healing made possible by bonds that are restored, however tentatively. And there’s also humor, and plenty of it.”
Directed by Marcel L’Herbier, 135 mins, DCP
Alloy Orchestra will perform and film historian Richard Neupert will discuss
Marcel L’Hubier’s 1924 classic accompanied live by the Alloy Orchestra. “L’inhumane” is a groundbreaking French Sci-Fi film (shot 3 years before Fritz Lang’s Metropolis), which brought together all the avant guard artists of Europe to create astounding sets and costumes. The film is a visual tour de force – building toward it’s finale of dizzying montages, flashing colors and the breathtaking stage set of a futuristic science lab, designed by artist Fernand Leger. Director L’Herbier is one of the first to depict “television” and basically invented the defibrillator. The film cause great controversy upon its release, and even prompted a small riot at its premiere. In the famous scene where the heroine Claire Lescot gives her controversial concert, the audience is reported to have included Erik Satie, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Léon Blum, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and the Prince of Monaco (although none are actually visible in the film). Alloy’s score is audacious and perfectly matches the tone and atmosphere of this strange film.
Directed by Kasi Lemmons, 109 mins, 35mm
Writer/Director Kasi Lemmons will be in attendance
Roger Ebert wrote in 1997: “Kasi Lemmons’ ‘Eve’s Bayou’ is one of the best films of the year – elegant, sensuous, and haunting. It’s the story of a Louisiana family and its secrets, with supernatural undertones; Tennessee Williams has been evoked in reviews, but it reminded me in ways of Ingmar Bergman’s later family dramas, with their fathers, distant and mysterious, and their women confiding and conspiring, and their children interpreting everything in their own ways.”
Directed by Rebecca Parrish, 86 mins, DCP
Director Rebecca Parrish, Producer Nicole Bernard-Reis, composer Heather McIntosh, and social activist Father Michael Pfleger will be in attendance
Rogerebert.com’s Matt Fagerholm: “Rebecca Parrish’s ‘Radical Grace’ is an exhilarating portrait of the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ that easily ranks among the year’s best films. Coming off like a real-life ‘Sister Act,’ this heroic group of women rebelled against a Vatican-ordered censure by becoming engaged in social activism… Enhanced immeasurably by a beautiful, wholly unobtrusive score from Heather McIntosh (‘Compliance,’ ‘Black Box’), ‘Radical Grace’ moved me to tears with its portrayal of good people putting their beliefs into action in ways that transcend all ideological boundaries.”
“Love & Mercy”
Directed by Bill Pohlad, 121 mins, DCP
Director Bill Pohlad’s “Love & Mercy” explores Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece in the 1960s. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.
Rogerebert.com’s Glenn Kenny said of the film, “Longtime producer Pohlad (‘Brokeback Mountain,’ ’12 Years A Slave’), working from a daring script by Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner, and using two first-rate actors to play Wilson at two turning points in his life, lavishes his material with love, attention to detail, and empathetic imagination. The result is a story that’s hair-raisingly watchable and frequently moving, regardless of what you believe you might already know of Wilson’s life.”
This screening is sponsored by The Champaign County Alliance for the Promotion of Acceptance, Inclusion, & Respect for the sensitive way it confronts the social stigma of mental illness.
Festival passes are available for $150 plus processing. Only one thousand are available. Passes can be purchased through the festival website, the theater website or the theater box office: 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign (217-356-9063). Individual tickets for each screening will go on sale Friday, April 1, and are $15 ($13 for students and seniors).