April 22, 2014 7:51 am
The 2014 Cannes Film Festival will host the European premiere of Life Itself, our new documentary about film critic Roger Ebert. Life Itself director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) said to RogerEbert.com: "The film's selection is a thrilling first for me and for Kartemquin. Beyond that, its also a statement about what Roger meant to the festival. He loved Cannes and Cannes loved him. We were so inspired by his writing about the festival, that we've created a new section in the film devoted to his adventures there over the years. Roger was a student of great cinema and of the dreams and spectacle that for him defined Cannes. We can't wait to share his story and our film with everyone there." Though the opportunity to screen a film at Cannes is new to us, Ebert was a regular attendee for over 30 years, wrote a book about his experiences there, and even proposed to his wife Chaz while they were there. He will forever be associated with the festival, with the "Roger Ebert Conference Center" at the American Pavilion named in his honor in 2009, and Chaz famously leading a "500 Thumbs up" salute in his memory at last year's festival, the first since his death in April 2013, just 5 months into the production of Life Itself. The Cannes Film Festival runs May 14-25. Cannes will present the film in their "Classics" section. Life Itself premiered to wide acclaim at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and in a special simultaneous online stream for Indiegogo supporters, and was acquired for distribution by Magnolia Pictures, who will release the film in theaters and VOD this summer. The film has only screened at special events for Indiegogo supporters since Sundance, though it will be the opening night film at Ebertfest tomorrow. The new material inserted into the film will not be seen until Cannes, but will be a permanent part of the film. The official running time is now 118 minutes. You can follow the film on Facebook and Twitter.