CHF 2014: Journeys

Roger Ebert: Life Itself

Kartemquin Films’s Life Itself, based on Roger Ebert’s celebrated memoir of the same title, recounts the surprising, entertaining, and moving life of the world-renowned film critic and social commentator. Roger’s widow, Chaz Ebert, and filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) share stories, clips, and outtakes from the summer’s most-talked-about film. Alison Cuddy, CHF’s program director and former WBEZ 91.5 host, will guide the conversation.

This program is generously underwritten by Carol Rosofsky and Robert B. Lifton.

“For me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy.”—Roger Ebert

Promotional image from "Life Itself"

Speakers and Performers

Chaz Ebert

Chaz Ebert heads the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation and is CEO of several Ebert Company multimedia enterprises. She also hosts Ebertfest, the annual film festival at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Mrs. Ebert has established scholarships at Crane High School and her alma mater, DePaul University, College of Law, and serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, After School Matters, and the Honorary Board for Family Focus. A Chicago resident, Mrs. Ebert is a Life Trustee of the Art Institute.

Steve James

Steve James's affiliation with Kartemquin Films began in 1987 with the production of Hoop Dreams, for which he served as director, producer, and co-editor. He has since then become one of the most acclaimed documentary makers of his generation, with noted works being Stevie, The New Americans, The War Tapes, At the Death House Door, and The Interrupters.

Alison Cuddy

Alison Cuddy is the associate artistic director at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Before coming to the Festival, she spent more than 10 years at WBEZ 91.5 FM. There she helped launched Odyssey, a nationally syndicated talk show of arts and ideas, hosted the morning newsmagazine Eight Forty-Eight and reported on arts and culture. She currently hosts Strange Brews, a podcast about the culture and community around craft beer.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

Chaz's Blog
Kartemquin Films
Official website

Good Reads

Chaz Ebert reflects on her late husband, Roger

Online Resources

'Life Itself': An Unflinching Documentary Of Roger Ebert's Life And Death [audio]