EBERTFEST: THUMBAPALOOZA 2003

Ebert invited several guests up to the mic including “The Right Stuff” actors Scott Wilson, Veronica Cartwright, and Donald Moffat. Cartwright commented on the new 20th Anniversary DVD coming out, “We all went in and did stuff for the DVD and everybody needs to buy this DVD. It is a classic movie and it’s just great.” Uh, Veronica? I’ll buy it – and I’ll even save you a parking spot next time you attend this festival.
“The Stone Reader” director/writer Mark Moskowitz and the film’s distributor Jeff Lipsky were very excited to be a part of this festival. Lipsky commented on a film he distributed in 1981: “‘My Dinner with Andre’ was a complete box office failure when it opened until about three or four weeks into its run when Roger Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel went on national TV and called it the best film of the year.” Lipsky also presented Ebert with a cassette tape of a question & answer session moderated by Roger and Gene at the last screening of the movie. Lipsky said, “You made this film successful and I honor you.” In regard to “The Stone Reader,” Moskowitz said, “If it wasn’t for Jeff and Roger, people may not have had a chance to see this film.” The documentary is about Dow Mossman, a writer who lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – also home of the Critic Doctor. It was exciting for me to discover Moskowitz’ documentary at this year’s festival and I enjoyed it thoroughly (more on that later).
Director, writer and cinematographer Haskell Wexler (“Medium Cool”) said to guests, “I hope you go to see ‘Medium Cool’ and I hope you go to the bathroom first because I’d really appreciate a lively and interesting discussion.” The movie placed actors into the actual events during the disturbances that took place at the Democratic convention in 1968. Haskell is the fourth cinematographer to ever receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and he has worked on such films as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966), “In The Heat of the Night” (1967), “American Graffiti” (1973), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), etc. He and Ebert have become very good friends over the years.
Now here’s a cool story. Roger Ebert attended The Hawaii Film festival and saw the movie “Charlotte Sometimes” (written and directed by Eric Byler). This was Eric’s first feature movie. Ebert said, “It just blew me away.” Byler explained at the reception that Ebert invited actress Jacqueline Kim and himself out to dinner. He had to decline because he had plans with all his friends who were there in Hawaii for a high school reunion. Then Ebert offered to take them all out. Problem solved!
During the gala reception, Ebert was given a copy of an autobiography called: The Real Tom Jones: Handicapped? Not me. Jones, who was a sports broadcaster for 19 years at WCIA Channel 3, was there to present the book to Ebert. In 1962, Ebert was a reporter for “The Daily Illini” when he was asked to accompany 17 people in wheelchairs to South Africa to help them easily get around. Jones was one of those 17 people and he presented Ebert with two photographs: A group photo of the 1962 trip and the other a 1992 reunion of that same group. Ebert wrote the forward in Jones’ book and was thrilled that the book came out.
Time to duck out for more films in part four of EBERTFEST: THUMBAPALOOZA 2003>>>




Posted on May 20, 2003 in Festivals by
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