Last month, Life Itself, a documentary based on movie critic Roger Ebert's memoir, premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. The latest collaboration from Chicago's Kartemquin Films and acclaimed documentary director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters), the film chronicles Roger's life as a world renowned critic, author, and humanitarian, until his death in 2013 from complications due to cancer. Roger was our friend and partner, and I cherish the time we got to spend with him over the last few years, helping him bring RoberEbert.com to life and continue his substantial legacy.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Sundance screening along with Steve and Roger's widow, Chaz Ebert. Roger was a prominent face at this prominent film festival, as much a celebrity as any of the actors walking around, and I was struck by the overwhelming support and regard for this film—from both those who knew Roger well and those who felt they knew him through his writing. In a packed house, Life Itself brought laughter, tears, and the message to live life to the fullest, and it was touching to be a part of it.
We were thrilled to learn that Magnolia Pictures has picked up the film for distribution: Life Itself will be released in theaters nationwide this summer, followed by an exclusive television broadcast on CNN. Stay tuned for more information on the film's premiere date.
Finally, for a heartfelt, inside perspective on what it was like shooting the film and watching it for the first time at Sundance, I encourage you to read Chaz's thoughts "On Life Itself" at RogerEbert.com.
Roger wanted a truthful movie, and I think he got one. I'm very excited that the rest of the world will get a chance to see the man behind the thumbs.