Legendary film critic Roger Ebert may be gone, but he is certainly very far from being forgotten — in fact, Life Itself , a documentary centering on Ebert, was crowd-funded on IndieGoGo and premiered at Sundance just last month. Now, that same documentary got picked up for distribution. Magnolia Pictures (Food Inc., Melancholia, Nymphomaniac, etc.) has acquired the U.S. distribution rights, as well as the ones to VOD and home entertainment for the film. According to IndieWire Magnolia's looking towards a theatrical release this bring followed by a television premiere of the film on CNN.
The film is inspired by/based off of Ebert's autobiography. Here's the gist according to the initial IndieGoGo site:
the first ever feature-length documentary on the life of Roger Ebert, covers the prolific critic’s life journey from his days at the University of Illinois, to his move to Chicago where he became the first film critic ever to win the Pulitzer Prize, then to television where he and Gene Siskel became iconic stars, and finally to what Roger referred to as “his third act”; how he overcame disabilities wrought by cancer to became a major voice on the internet and through social media.
Director Steve James (HOOP DREAMS) has conducted interviews with over two dozen people, including lifelong friends, professional colleagues, the first ever interview with Gene Siskel’s wife, and filmmakers Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Ramin Bahrani, Gregory Nava, Ava DuVernay, and Martin Scorsese, who is one of the executive producers.
“This movie is a love story really –– Roger’s love for movies, for Chaz, and even in his own way, his love for Gene. Ultimately, though, it’s a film about Roger’s love for life itself.”
- Steve James
I, for one, genuinely cannot wait to sit in a theater and watch a film focusing on the life of a man who so loved sitting in theaters.