Roger Ebert: a visionary, a champion and a friend.

Kartemquin Films is devastated by the loss of Roger Ebert. He was a visionary, a champion and a friend.

In his first year as a film critic in 1967, he reviewed our very first film, Home for Life. In 1994, he and Gene Siskel became early impassioned, vocal supporters for our film Hoop Dreams in such an unprecedented way that it not only changed our lives, but forever altered public perception of the potential for documentary film.

We were honored last year when he agreed to trust us to create a documentary based on his memoir, Life Itself. In the wake of his death, we are further humbled and proud to be telling his story and celebrating the impact of his life. Production will continue.

Our thoughts and love to his beloved wife and partner Chaz, his dear family and friends, and the millions of fans worldwide who are grieving at his loss.

Photo: Roger Ebert in 2009, with Will Gates and Arthur Agee, stars of Hoop Dreams, at a celebration of the film's 15th Anniversary.