By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

ROGER EBERT RECEIVES “GOLDEN CIUPAGA” AWARD FROM THE POLISH FILM FESTIVAL IN AMERICA

Roger Ebert, one of the most respected and widely-read film critics in the world, is the recipient of the 2010 Golden Ciupaga Award, for his contribution in promoting European cinema in the United States, including works by Polish filmmakers. This prestigious prize is being presented by the Polish Film Festival in America, which hosts the largest showcase of Polish cinema beyond Poland and is one of the most extensive annual programs of European film in North America.

Regarded as the most powerful and popular film critic in America today, Roger Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1942. Ebert received his degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He then attended the Universities of Cape Town and Chicago. He started working for the Chicago Sun-Times in September of 1966, and has been their film critic since 1967. Roger is best known for his film reviews in the Sun-Times and online through rogerebert.com, and for his television programs, “Sneak Previews,” “At the Movies” and “Siskel & Ebert and The Movies,” all of which he co-hosted for a combined 23 years with Gene Siskel of The Chicago Tribune. After Siskel’s death in 1999, Ebert teamed with Richard Roeper for “Ebert and Roeper & the Movies.” Although his name remained in the title, Ebert did not appear on the show after mid-2006, when he suffered surgical complications which left him unable to speak.

Ebert’s movie reviews are syndicated to more than 200 newspapers worldwide and his website attracts 100 million visits a year from around the globe. He has written more than 20 books, including his famous annual movie yearbook which is a collection of his reviews of the past year. In 1994 he published “Great Movies” which has since continued with “Great Movies II” and now “Great Movies III.” These books contain reviews of movies he deems important for people to see. He also recently published “Scorsese by Ebert.”

In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Colorado, the AFI Conservatory and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2005, Ebert was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first professional film critic to be so honored. In 2009, he was made an honorary life member of the Directors Guild of America. More recently, he was honored as the 2010 Webby Person of the Year, which is the leading international award honoring excellence on the internet.

In 1999, Ebert established the “Overlooked Film Festival” at his alma mater, the University of Illinois. Now called “Roger Ebert’s Film Festival” or “Ebertfest,” it just celebrated its 13th anniversary. The festival brings filmmakers from all over the world to Urbana-Champaign to share their films. Roger Ebert’s contribution to the appreciation of European film in America is unquestioned. While teaching at the University of Chicago Extension Courses, he regularly featured a semester dedicated to a particular director, including Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrzej Wajda and was an early champion of Krzysztof Zanussi. Ebert considers “Decalogue” as one of the most important films in the history of cinema. From the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, he wrote that Jerzy Hoffman’s “With Fire and Sword,” shown at the Festival’s Marketplace, was one of the few interesting films shown there.

Ebert has described his critical approach of films as “relative, not absolute.” He reviews a film for what he feels will be its prospective audience, yet always with at least some consideration as to its value as a whole.

For many years, Roger Ebert has been supported by his wife Chaz, currently the Executive Producer of the upcoming “Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies,” which is set to air in January 2011, on public television stations nationwide. Ebert is an extraordinary example of a man whose passion for films has overcome even his serious health limitations.

The Polish Film Festival in American is proud to honor Roger Ebert with its “Golden Ciupaga Award” for his long-standing promotion of European films in America, and Polish films in particular.

Roger Ebert will receive the award in person at the Award Closing Night Ceremony on Saturday, November 20th, of the 22nd annual Polish Film Festival in America, at Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 (9180 Golf Rd., Niles). Following the presentation, he will be available to sign his new books, “Great Movies III,” and “Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2011.”

2 Responses to “ROGER EBERT RECEIVES “GOLDEN CIUPAGA” AWARD FROM THE POLISH FILM FESTIVAL IN AMERICA”

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Dear Irene Cho, I will miss your energy and passion; your optimism and joy; your kindness towards friends, colleagues, strangers, struggling filmmakers, or anyone who randomly crossed your path and needed a hand. My brothers and I have long considered you another sibling in our family. Our holiday photos – both western and eastern – have you among all the cousins, in-laws, and kids… in the snow, sun, opening presents, at large dinner gatherings, playing Monopoly, breaking out pomegranate seeds and teaching us all how to dance Gangnam style. Your friendship and loyalty meant a great deal to me: you were the loudest cheerleader when I experienced victories and you were always ready with sushi when I had disappointments. You had endless crazy ideas which always seemed impossible but you would will them into existence. (Like that time you called me and suggested that we host a brunch for newly elected mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti because “he is going to president one day.” We didn’t have enough time or funding, of course, only your desire to do it. So you did, and I followed.) You created The Daily Buzz from nothing and it survived on your steam in spite of many setbacks because you believed in a platform for emerging filmmakers from all nations. Most of all, you were a wonderful mother to your son, Ethan, a devoted wife to your husband, and a wonderful sibling and daughter to your family. We will all miss how your wonderful smile and energy lit up the room and our lives. Rest in peace, Irene.
~ Rose Kuo Remembers Irene Cho on Facebook

“You know, I was never a critic. I never considered myself as a film critic. I started doing short films, writing screenplays and then for awhile, for a few years I wrote some film theory, including some film criticism because I had to, but I was never… I never had the desire to be a film critic. I never envisioned myself as a film critic, but I did that at a period of my life when I thought I kind of needed to understand things about cinema, understand things about film theory, understand the world map of cinema, and writing about movies gave me that, and also the opportunity to meet filmmakers I admired.

“To me, it was the best possible film school. The way it changed my perspective I suppose is that I believe in this connection between theory and practice. I think that you also make movies with ideas and you need to have ideas about filmmaking to achieve whatever you’re trying to achieve through your movies, but then I started making features in 1986 — a while ago — and I left all that behind.

“For the last three decades I’ve been making movies, I’ve been living, I’ve been observing the world. You become a different person, so basically my perspective on the world in general is very different and I hope that with every movie I make a step forward. I kind of hope I’m a better person, and hopefully a better filmmaker and hopefully try to… It’s very hard for me to go back to a different time when I would have different values in my relationship to filmmaking. I had a stiffer notion of cinema.”
~ Olivier Assayas