Roger Ebert Documentary Filmmakers Vow to Finish Movie

Roger Ebert Key Art - H 2013
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Roger Ebert Key Art - H 2013

“We all knew it was imminent, as sad as it is,” says a source close to the Martin Scorsese-produced project of the death of the beloved film critic.

As tributes pour in from movie lovers around the world for film critic Roger Ebert, who succumbed to cancer Thursday at the age of 70, the makers behind the high-profile Ebert documentary Life Itself are vowing to finish the film.

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“We are devastated. But we will continue. We will finish the film,” tweeted director Steve James via the movie’s Twitter account.

As The Hollywood Reporter previously reported, the project is being executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Steve Zaillian and is based on Ebert’s 2011 memoir Life Itself.

Insiders close to the project tell THR that James and the producers have been preparing for Ebert's possible death as his condition worsened in recent months. Ebert was participating heavily in the documentary, allowing the filmmakers to record as much footage of the beloved critic as they possibly could.

STORY: Critic Roger Ebert Dies at 70

“We all knew it was imminent, as sad as it is,” says one source close to the project.

While the documentary has no theatrical distributor, CNN Films has picked up U.S. broadcast rights with the goal of airing the movie sometime in 2014.

"On behalf of the filmmakers, our thoughts are with Chaz Ebert and the Ebert family," says producer Garrett Basch. "This is a terrible loss for the film community and for us."


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