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Roger Ebert spent his life watching and evaluating movies, and now he’s the subject of one.
The first trailer for documentary Life Itself examines many aspects of the late film critic’s career and life. This includes Ebert’s work as a screenwriter on B-movie classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, his sometimes contentious relationship with onscreen sparring partner Gene Siskel and his battle with thyroid cancer. Ebert succumbed to the illness in April 2013.
“He made it possible for a bigger audience, a wider audience, to appreciate cinema as an art form because he really loved films,” Scorsese says about Ebert.
The film was directed by Steve James, who helmed the 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams, which Ebert and Siskel had championed. Life Itself is based on Ebert’s 2012 autobiography of the same name. Scorsese and Steven Zaillian executive produced the doc.
Life Itself premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and is being released July 4 in theaters and on VOD by Magnolia Pictures. Producers raised $150,000 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to supplement the reported $1 million budget.
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Sterling K. Brown