Two weeks after losing the man who started it all, the 15thannual Ebertfest goes on in Champaign.
In her first visit to the community since the passing of Roger Ebert, wife and emcee Chaz Ebert got a one-minute standing ovation from a packed Virginia Theater last night.
She also took time to thank the crowd for making the film festival the success since it started in 1999:
“It made him so happy. And he wanted to make sure that the festival continues. And so we’ll see what we can do about that. But tonight, this week for the next five days, we’re gonna celebrate Roger!”
About six weeks ago, Chaz says her husband still had hopes for attending the festival despite a recurrence of cancer, and radiation treatments.
But he later realized it wasn’t likely, but gave instructions to festival organizers for a sing-along. Four members of the University of Illinois Black Chorus led a rendition of ‘Those Were the Days’, with special lyrics written by Ebert.
Ebertfest continues through Sunday.