The 18th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival has received a 2016 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The festival, also known as “Ebertfest,” received the grant during a star-studded HFPA grants dinner banquet at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Aug. 13. Festival Host and Executive Producer Chaz Ebert and Festival Director Nate Kohn accepted the grant on behalf of the festival. 

“We are honored to receive support from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” said Chaz Ebert. “It is in Roger’s honor that I accept this grant from the HFPA.”

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Charitable Trust was established to provide financial support for educational and cultural nonprofit organizations whose primary focus is the entertainment industry. In the past 21 years, the HFPA trust has bestowed $24 million in fellowships and grants to film schools and nonprofit organizations.

“We will use the money to strengthen connections and interactions between our audience and international filmmaker guests,” said Nate Kohn.

Founded by the late Roger Ebert, a University of Illinois Journalism graduate and a Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, Roger Ebert’s Film Festival takes place each April for a week. The festival presents 12 films representing a cross-section of important international cinematic works overlooked by audiences, critics and distributors. Films range from 70mm classics to independent and studio films with small audiences to documentary and musical selections. Ebertfest is a special event of the College of Media at the University of Illinois.

All films are screened at the 1,500-seat Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, a restored movie palace built in the 1920s. A portion of the festival’s income is devoted to the theater’s ongoing renovations.

Each film is introduced followed by substantive on-stage Q&A sessions with filmmaker guests that feature questions from prominent critics as well as the audience. In addition to the screenings, the festival hosts a number of academic panel discussions featuring filmmaker guests, scholars and students. Both the Q&A sessions and the panel discussions are streamed live on the festival’s website.

Festival passes for 2016 go on sale Nov. 2, 2015. Individual tickets will be available for purchase starting April 1, 2016. For more information, visit www.ebertfest.com or connect with Ebertfest on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ebertfest) or Twitter (@ebertfest).

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