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Toronto to Open with Film Tribute to Roger Ebert

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood September 4, 2013 at 2:01PM

This year's TIFF, which kicks off September 5, will open Thursday night with a film tribute to Roger Ebert (1942-2013). Toronto credits Ebert's presigious attendance in helping the festival grow from "a bootstrap operation to the unofficial opener to Academy Awards season."
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Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert

This year's TIFF, which kicks off September 5, will open Thursday night with a film tribute to Roger Ebert (1942-2013). Toronto credits Ebert's presigious attendance in helping the festival grow from "a bootstrap operation to the unofficial opener to Academy Awards season."

TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling stated that “Roger was a huge presence at the festival for over 30 years. He was one of the key people who put the Toronto International Film Festival on the map, and we feel it is only fitting that we pay tribute to Roger in the way we would hope he would have wanted -- in a cinema surrounded by friends, family and the Toronto audience, which was so close to Roger’s heart.”

The 8pm tribute precedes the world premiere of Bill Condon's “The Fifth Estate,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, in Roy Thomson Hall, which seats approximately 2,000. The video will feature homages to Ebert from festival co-founder Bill Marshall, former festival director Helga Stephenson, producer Robert Lantos and others. 

At the tribute, TIFF will present Chaz Ebert with a commemorative plaque, a replica of one that has been installed on a chair named in her husband’s honor inside TIFF Bell Lightbox’s Cinema One.

This article is related to: Festivals, Toronto, Toronto International Film Festival, Roger Ebert (1942-2013), Roger Ebert Fellowship


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.