Ebertfest 2015 Kicks Off in Champaign

Champaign--It's a film festival for movies that were left out of the spotlight, founded by one of the most famous movie critics of our time.

Ebertfest 2015 kicked off Wednesday as people waited in a line that wrapped around the Virginia Theatre for a chance to score the best seats possible.

"It's fun to kind of get in line, get my game face on for going to Ebertfest," said Joseph Spencer, an Ebertfest 2015 attendee.

The light's went up Wednesday on the 17th annual Ebertfest, founded by legendary movie critic, Roger Ebert.

Since 1999, Champaign-Urbana has hosted the five-day film festival, featuring 12 movies that were overlooked during their original runs on the big screen.

"There's a very eclectic group of films and I like the variety," said attendee, Fiona Mustard. "I like that most of the features are independent, so you get to see a lot of things that you normally wouldn't."

Mustard started showing up to the shows two years ago, right after Ebert lost his battle with cancer. A loss felt most by his wife and fellow movie-lover, Chaz.

"I'm a lot better this year than I was a year ago," said Chaz.
I mean, I can talk without bursting into tears every second."

Because even though she has taken over her late husband's hosting duties, the festival is his lasting legacy.

"I came over this morning and sat with the sculpture of Roger before everything started," said Chaz. "I just walked over in my shorts and sneakers to ask him to have his spirit here and to grace us wit his presence. Just the spirit of this festival."

The festival runs through Sunday, April 19th.

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