Ebert Documentary Opens to Public Friday

Friends and colleagues gather for red carpet event

Friends and colleagues of the late Chicago film critic Roger Ebert gathered at the Gene Siskel Film Center Monday for the red carpet premiere for "Life Itself," a new documentary celebrating his life and times.

The film is directed by Steve James of the acclaimed documentary "Hoop Dreams" and executive-produced by Martin Scorcese.

The filmmakers spent countless hours with Ebert and his wife, Chaz, in the four months before he died from cancer. The documentary recounts all the painful details of his illness.

"It's about how you deal with the end of your life with incredible courage and fortitude, and giving a positive message to the people you're in touch with. In Roger's case, he was in touch of hundreds of thousands," said Barbara Scharres of the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Ebert was already the first-ever Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic when he and Gene Siskel teamed up on the long-running TV show "At the Movies."

"He was articulate, he was intelligent, he was intuitive and warm about films as well," said Bruce Sheridan, who chairs the Cinema, Art and Science Media Production Center.

James interviewed more than two dozen people for the movie, from lifelong friends and professional colleagues to movie directors such as Scorsese, and he conducted the first interview with Chaz Ebert.

The film opens to the public on Friday.

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