Read Chaz Ebert's moving post on 2 years since Roger's passing

April 4th will mark the 2 year anniversary of Roger Ebert's death. His passing was mourned across the whole world, and came as we were just a few months into production on Life Itself.

In "Memories of Roger: My Photo Journal from the Last Two Years," a most wonderful and moving new public letter to her husband, Chaz Ebert presents an annotated photo gallery of the journey she took in the months since his death, including the trajectory of this film. We feel deeply honored to have been a small part of this inspiring eternal love story, and urge everyone to read her post.

For those of you who are still yet to see Life Itself, or want to see it again, the film is now available on Netflix worldwide, along with DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download. We're very grateful for the many messages of praise we continue to get from viewers around the world who have just experienced the film. Thank you!

Own Life Itself on DVD, Blu-Ray, & Digital Download Starting Feb. 17th!

The big day has finally arrived: Life Itself is out on blu-ray and dvd starting Tuesday, February 17th! It is available for digital download on all major online platforms, including Amazon, iTunes, Youtube, and Google Play

Purchase Life Itself directly from Kartemquin Films through our online store and receive 15% off your purchase through the end of February by using the code Ebertmovie2015 !

It's been quite a ride since our world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival a little over a year ago (check out a recap of that emotional day here), and since then Life Itself has screened to wide acclaim at festivals worldwide including Cannes, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Telluride, and AFI Docs. In July 2014 it embarked on a successful theatrical run, and last year was named the best documentary of the year by over a dozen critics associations, and also received the Golden Tomato Award from Rotten Tomatoes as the best reviewed documentary of 2014. It also was awarded best by The Critic’s Choice Awards, The National Board of Review, and The Producers Guild of America.

The DVD, blu-ray, and digital release are packed with extras, including an interview with director Steve James, deleted scenes, the featurettes “AXS TV: A look at Life Itself” and “Sundance Tribute,” and a theatrical trailer. You can check out a full rundown of the deleted scenes at RogerEbert.com.  

CNN airs Life Itself this Sunday, 8pm ET

CNN presents an encore broadcast of Life Itself, our award-winning documentary on Roger Ebert, this Sunday, January 25th at 8pm ET.

The repeat broadcast comes just over a week after a bittersweet, busy time for the film, as the hugely successful first CNN broadcast was followed by the film missing out on an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary, much to the surprise, heartbreak and dismay of many, while on the same day being honored as the Best Documentary of the year at the Critics' Choice Awards.

Steve James posted this photo on the film's Facebook page the following day, with these words:
"Yesterday in Los Angeles... we didn't get an Oscar nomination, but we did get the honor of being named Best Documentary of the year at the Critics' Choice Awards.

In between that low and high, Chaz, Judy and I were having breakfast at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood where we were all staying because of the Critics' Choice Awards. While we sat and commiserated over the nominations, and laughed some too about the insanity of it all, we thought about how lucky we are. And then realizing that we were literally a block away from Roger's star, Judy suggested we go down and see it, especially today of all days, and take a picture.

Thanks everyone for all the support you've given this film!"

Chaz Ebert posted both a statement on the day of the Oscar nominations, and then a message of gratitude, which begins:
"Working with Steve James, one of our finest documentary filmmakers, and our team to make “Life Itself” has been one of the most gratifying experiences I could ever hope for. I am deeply moved by the hard work and dedication they devoted to every aspect of the filmmaking process. One of our objectives was to make a film that allowed the viewer to get to know Roger and his relationship to the film industry, and to life itself, in an intimate and meaningful way. I think we accomplished that, and I know that Roger would have been pleased with the outcome, and that makes me happy. The film seemed to touch the hearts and minds of so many. “Life Itself” is about the strength of the human heart. The profound and emotional depth one feels when experiencing the movie is possible because of the beautiful filmmaking."

Recognized as the "best reviewed documentary of 2014" -- and the second best reviewed limited-release movie of the year overall -- Life Itself has already been richly rewarded in this year’s awards season, with the greatest honor of all for the filmmakers being the wonderful response of the many fans the film has gained since it first world premiered at Sundance Film Festival and simultaneously online to Indiegogo backers one year ago.

Another award just came in for the film this Saturday, January 24th: the Producers Guild Award for Best Documentary. We are delighted to receive this prestigious honor! Accepting the prize last night, Steve James quipped: "I've been a member of the Academy for seven or eight years now. I think I want to join the PGA..."

See a list of notable awards and distinctions for Life Itself below:

Nominations

We are deeply honored to have been nominated for the following awards; to be considered and included among such stellar company is a win in and of itself!

Life Itself also landed on many ‘best of the year’ lists… and not just the best documentaries of the year. Again, we are deeply honored to be included on these lists, and placed alongside so many amazing films. You can check out some of those lists below:

Thank you to everyone who has seen the film for supporting Life Itself over the course of our journey this past year.


Recap: Our CNN World Television Premiere!

Our CNN world television premiere was, simply put, a magical night. Thank you to everyone who tuned into the broadcast, and made it the #1 rated cable news program of the night! 

We've recapped the entire premiere, which you can enjoy below. Thank you again! 

CNN Premiere Tonight at 9pm & 11pm ET! Plus: "Lessons from Roger: The Best of #EbertChat"

Tune into CNN for our world television premiere tonight (Sunday, January 4) at 9pm ET, with an encore airing at 11pm ET! Chaz Ebert will be live tweeting throughout the premiere from @ChazEbert and @Ebertchicago. You can also check in with us on Twitter @Ebertmovie!

 Click here to visit the CNN website and learn more about tonight's broadcast. 

Lessons From Roger: The Best of #EbertChat

Roger Ebert had an immense impact on whole generations of filmgoers. Collected from our popular series #EbertChat -- which included film critics and filmmakers like Golden-Globe nominated director Ava DuVernay, film critics Scott Weinberg and Christy Lemire, and RogerEbert.com editor Matt Zoller-Seitz -- here are our guest hosts discussing Roger, his writing, and his influence on how they look at the movies!  

Life Itself wins multiple Best Documentary awards! Watch it on CNN Jan 4th!

Hello Ebert Fans, 

It’s been a landmark couple of weeks for Life Itself, and we have a lot of exciting news to share with you.

Our CNN TV Premiere


Mark your calendars! Our CNN/U.S. global television premiere will be on Sunday, January 4th at 9pm and 11pm Eastern.

Please join us for this very special occasion as millions of people watch the film together! We’ll be active on social media during the premiere, so please share your thoughts with us on Facebook and our Twitter @Ebertmovie!  


Nominations and Awards 

We are deeply honored that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences 
has selected Life Itself as one of fifteen documentaries shortlisted for a nomination for the 2015 Best Documentary Oscar. The five official nominations will be announced on January 15th; cross your fingers for us! You can see the full list of shortlisted documentaries here

  • Entertainment Weekly has declared Life Itself to be the #4 best movie of 2014! “In the end, Life Itself is really a love story about one man's love of words, his wife, and the movies,” EW’s Chris Nashawaty writesWe couldn’t put it better ourselves.

  • We are a Critics' Choice Movie Awards nominee! Life Itself was nominated for the Best Documentary of 2014 by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Anne Thompson of IndieWIRE states that the "The Critic's Choice Movie Awards are among the most accurate predictors of Oscar nominations."

Many thanks to these amazing organizations for their awards, nominations, and recognitions; we give you two thumbs up!

 

Ava DuVernay Remembers Roger Ebert 

In this exclusive Indiewire clip from Life Itself, director Ava DuVernay reminisces about her relationship with Roger, and discusses his ability to look past racial and cultural boundaries to view films from their own unique perspectives. On that note, we want to take a moment to congratulate Ava for being the first African-American woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes. It’s an honor long overdue, and we hope that Ava is just the first of many outstanding women filmmakers of color who will be recognized for their talents behind the camera.

For more personal stories from Ava about Roger and his influence on her career, please read our #EbertChat from last year!

Last but not least, Indiewire interviewed Chaz Ebert about Roger and Life Itself for their “Awards Spotlight” series. Our favorite quote: what moved Roger Ebert to tears when watching a film? "Goodness and kindness."

Click here or the photo of Steve James and Chaz Ebert to check out the full interview! 

It’s an exciting time for Life Itself, so to stay up to date on all things Ebert, be sure to check in with us on Facebook and Twitter, where we interact with followers and post news daily. Thank you all for your wonderful support, and if Life Itself was your favorite nonfiction feature of 2014, don't forget to cast your vote for us for the Cinema Eye Honors Audience Choice Prize. And remember, our CNN television premiere will be on Sunday, January 4th at 9pm and 11pm Eastern!

Love, the Movies, Chicago, and LIFE ITSELF – Roger Ebert’s Life Comes to CNN

– Now Shortlisted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Documentary Feature Consideration –

Debuts Sunday, Jan. 4 at 9:00pm and 11:00pm ET 

Fresh from its highly successful theatrical exhibition, Life Itself will make its global television debut on CNN/U.S. on Sunday, Jan. 4 at 9:00pm and 11:00pm Eastern.  Life Itself, based upon the 2012 memoir of the same title written by legendary film critic Roger Ebert, was also honored today as Best Documentary by the National Board of Review.  The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January and is in contention for an Oscar® in the Best Documentary Feature category.

The critically-acclaimed Life Itself is directed by Award-winning filmmaker Steve James, produced by James and Zak Piper for Kartemquin Films and Garrett Basch for Film Rites, with executive producers Martin Scorsese, Steve Zaillian, Michael W. Ferro, Jr., Justine Nagan and Gordon Quinn of Kartemquin Films, Kat White of KatLei Productions, Mark Mitten, and Vinnie Malhotra and Amy Entelis of CNN Films. Life Itself was distributed theatrically by Magnolia Pictures.

I owe so much to Roger for his support and critical insights into my work over the years.  We tried to make a film that would both capture his legacy and reveal his incredibly rich and surprising life,” said director Steve James. 

Revelatory about the movies, his childhood, his drinking, his love life, and his renowned rivalry with Chicago Tribune film critic Gene Siskel, a significant portion of Life Itself is told in Ebert’s own voice, both native and synthesized, with frank candor and optimism – even as Ebert reckoned with his own mortality from the ravages of cancer.

“Her love was like a wind, pushing me back from the grave,” Roger Ebert says in the documentary about his deep, loving bond with his wife, Chaz Ebert.  Both Eberts describe with great candor the origins of their meeting, their frank discussions about their interracial relationship, and the progression of his difficult illness.

The professional relationship between Ebert and Siskel was complex – and multilayered.  Siskel’s widow, Marlene Iglitzen, and TV producer Thea Flaum tell stories behind the fierce competition between the two that vaulted both film critics to pop culture status.

Many in the creative film arts whose work he fearlessly reviewed still have tremendous respect and enduring love for Ebert, including director Steve James, whose early documentary Hoop Dreams (1994) was championed by Ebert.  As testament, James secured contributions to his film about a film critic, from a wide array of filmmakers – including interviews with Rahmin Bahrani, Ava DuVernay, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Gregory Nava, and Martin Scorsese.  In particular, recalling a difficult review about his 1986 film The Color of Money, Scorsese says, it was “devastating…[but] that was a way of condemning…and helping.”

“Steve James’ beautiful film illuminates the extraordinary life of Roger Ebert well beyond the Pulitzer prize-winning film critic, but as beloved husband, father, grandfather, son, writer, mentor, and a scion of Chicago,” said Vinnie Malhotra, senior vice president of development and acquisitions for CNN Worldwide. “We’re excited to bring Life Itself beyond the silver screen to a broader audience across the country in its television premiere,” Malhotra said.

Life Itself will be available in simulcast via CNNgo by logging in with a TV provider username and password on CNN’s iPad app or at www.CNN.com/go.  The film will encore on CNN on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 9:00pm and 11:00pm Eastern.

For more information about Life Itself, please visit www.cnn.com/lifeitself.

About CNN Films
CNN Films produces and acquires documentary feature films for theatrical exhibition and distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms.  Amy Entelis, svp of talent and content development and Vinnie Malhotra, svp of development and acquisitions, oversee the strategy for CNN Films.  For more information about CNN Films, please visit www.cnn.com/CNNFilms and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.
 
About CNN
CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media.  Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world.  CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.

Life Itself Named the 'Best Documentary of 2014' by the National Board of Review!

Today The National Board of Review released their year's end list of film awards, and we are proud and honored to announce that Life Itself has been selected as the Best Documentary of 2014! 

Our heartfelt thanks to the National Board of Review for this incredible distinction. You can view the entire list of films honored here.

Life Itself is Short Listed for the 'Best Documentary' Academy Award

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named Life Itself as one of the fifteen semi-finalists on this year's Best Documentary Feature short list. The process started with 134 feature documentary submissions, and we are honored to be included among such stellar company. 

The official nominations will be announced on January 15, 2014, with the Oscar ceremony taking place on February 22, 2014. You can read the entire list of nominees, including Variety's thoughts on this year's list, here. 

 

Life Itself Nominated for 'Best Documentary' by the Producers Guild of America

The Producers Guild of America has named Life Itself as one of the nominees for this year's best documentary theatrical motion picture. 

We are thrilled and honored to be considered for this year's award. The 26th annual Producers Guild Awards will take place on Saturday, January 24, 2014 in Los Angeles, CA at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The official PGA press release, including the entire list of this year's nominees, is available here. 

You can also read The Hollywood Reporter's writeup on this year's nominations for more information.