Ebert Symposium 2024 to address ‘Representations and Their Critics’

Ebert Symposium 2024 panelists

Updated 4/30/2024: Recordings are now available to watch.

This year's Chaz and Roger Ebert Symposium, presented by the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies, will address "Representations and Their Critics." Discussions will consider the current state of film criticism, the interpretive power of media critics, and how this work might evolve over the next decade. Presenters include culture commentators and film critics Megan Cruz, Bobbi Miller, Michael Phillips, and Dana Stevens.

Join us for this two-day event, in person or via Zoom:

Tuesday, April 16, 7-9 p.m.
Knight Auditorium at Spurlock Museum
Watch a screening of important film representations—a selection of scenes from movies curated by the panel—along with discussion about their importance. Free tacos will be provided before the screening, while supplies last.

The panelists—culture commentators and film critics Megan Cruz, Bobbi Miller, Michael Phillips, and Dana Stevens—selected short clips on important representations in film that included contemporary womanhood, atomic bomb portrayal, Black male representation, conversations about abortion, and more.

Watch the recording:


Wednesday, April 17, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Starlight Room at Siebel Center for Design
Meet the critics over coffee and pastries, and enjoy an interactive panel discussion about the state of film criticism and the future of media critics, led by moderator Tanya Melendez, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois Department of Communication and contributor to Entertainment Weekly.

Watch the recording:


About the presenters

Megan CruzMegan Cruz

Megan Cruz, @jstoobs on TikTok, is a host, pop culture commentator, writer, and producer who has built a strong audience with a diverse 600k+ following across social platforms. She was named by New York Times as one of eight TikTok stars redefining how movies are reviewed. She is the former co-host/EP of the #1 entertainment podcast Geeks of the Week, which had over 1 million monthly listeners. She has hosted a spectrum of live and taped events from press junkets to Netflix's Geeked Week showcase, Disney+/Hulu's Live From D23 Stage to Warner Bros The Batman, and Disney/Pixar's Lightyear red carpet livestreams.

She is a passionate advocate for marginalized voices, especially women in film. Her brand new podcast, The Broad Perspective, focusing on female trailblazers in the entertainment industry, was released on December 6, 2023, with a profile in Variety.

Bobbi MillerBobbi Miller

Bobbi Miller is a culture critic and host of The Afternoon Special Podcast, where she pulls back the curtain on some of pop culture‘s most interesting niches and tries to make sense of it all. Across the Internet and beyond, she creates edu-taining pop culture content that uses history, analysis, and a dash of humor to highlight film, TV, and more.

When she’s not masquerading as a niche Internet micro-celebrity, you can probably find her engaging in various enrichment activities, including reading and ranking all the Ghostfaces in the Scream franchise. 


Michael PhillipsMichael Phillips

Michael Phillips is the film critic of the Chicago Tribune, appointed in 2006 after serving as the Tribune theater critic since 2002. Previously he worked as theater critic for the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the Dallas Times-Herald. He started out as arts editor and film critic for the Twin Cities weekly City Pages, while serving as film critic for Minnesota Public Radio.

Since 2015, Phillips has been the advisor/mentor for the University of Illinois College of Media Roger Ebert Fellowship, and had the honor to co-host the nationally syndicated TV series At the Movies, first opposite Richard Roeper and, later, A.O. Scott. He also introduced 100+ films, from Citizen Kane to Total Recall, on the universal goodwill machine known as Turner Classic Movies. (Photo courtesy of Sally Blood.)

Dana StevensDana Stevens

Dana Stevens is the film critic at Slate and a co-host of the Slate Culture Gabfest, the magazine's weekly culture podcast. She has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and Bookforum. Her first book, Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema and the Invention of the Twentieth Century, came out in 2022 and is now out in paperback.