The annual Ebertfest film festival slated for next month in downstate Champaign has been postponed to 2022 due to the surge in COVID-19 across the state.
The announcement was made via YouTube from festival founder/organizer Chaz Ebert, the widow of Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, for whom the festival is named.
The new date for the annual festival of films and filmmakers is now April 20-23, 2022.
“It is truly difficult to come to terms with this decision after everyone at Ebertfest has put in so much effort to come back from the shutdown,” Chaz Ebert said in the announcement. “However, we find it easier to make the decision to reschedule knowing that everyone’s health and safety comes first.”
The festival’s 2020 iteration had already been postponed because of COVID, to Sept. 8-11 this year. As Ebert noted in her message, she never thought another postponement would have to be implemented due once gain to the pandemic.
“Perhaps we were destined to keep our springtime slot afterall,” Ebert mused, citing hesitation on the park of filmmakers, sponsors and audience members to attend the festival amid current rising COVID infection rates.
The Virginia Theatre in Champaign, the venue for the festival, is transferring 2021 passes and seat reservations to the 2022 dates. Refunds will be issued if requested by calling the theater box office at (217) 356-9063.
“An April festival will bring back our special guests and keep the dialogue with filmmakers central to the experience of the festival,” Ebert said. “The Champaign Park District will have completed the installation of a new HVAC system at the Virginia Theatre with the very latest ventilation technology to kill pathogens in the auditorium space.”