Nantucket Film Festival Preview: Roger Ebert Documentary ‘Life Itself’

Yesterday was Roger Ebert’s birthday. As part of our coverage on this years Nantucket Film Festival we’d like to highlight what we hear is an amazing documentary about on of films biggest fans.

His death was a major blow to film criticism. I recall seeking out Siskel and Ebert at the movies as a kid in the eighties. Steve James seems to have taken special care to capture the essence of the man in a documentary film we’re very excited to see. Take a look at the trailer below and take a look at the Nantucket Film Festival Program guide here. :

Life Itself:
Acclaimed filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams) pays tribute to the late Roger Ebert and to the love of movies in this touching documentary. Using Ebert’s memoir as a launching point, James adroitly traces the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic’s career, demonstrating how Ebert, with sparring partner Gene Siskel, popularized film criticism for the masses. Folded into the film is the story of the health issues that ultimately claimed Ebert’s life, how he adapted to his physical limitations to thrive online, and, most affectingly, his personal life with his beloved wife, Chaz, and their family.

Steve James is this year’s recipient of the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award, presented at the Screenwriters Tribute on June 28.

About the Director

Documentary filmmaker Steve James is best known for his work as director, producer, and editor of Hoop Dreams, which late film critic Roger Ebert (the subject of James’ latest film, Life Itself) deemed “the great American documentary.” James’ other award-winning films include Stevie; the miniseries The New Americans; At the Death House Door; and No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson for ESPN’s award-winning “30 for 30” series. James’ 2011 film, The Interrupters, was his fifth to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for journalism and an Emmy. Life Itself, based on Ebert’s memoir of the same name, delves into the critic’s belief that movies could change lives.