Life Itself, the biographical documentary of the late, great film critic Roger Ebert, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2014. It is currently crowd-funding on Indiegogo, and backers of the campaign will be treated to a livestream of the premiere at the same time.
Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Stevie) was tapped by producer Steve Zaillian to helm Life Itself, from Ebert’s memoir by the same name. Roger Ebert died in April of this year.
Roger Ebert was one of the most influential cultural voices in America, and Life Itself details his extraordinary life, including his career as a film critic for the Chicago Sun Times and his movie review TV show with fellow film critic Gene Siskel that aired for 25 years.
In a recent interview with David D’Arcy of Thompson On Hollywood, Steve James discusses the importance of Roger Ebert’s support for his groundbreaking documentary Hoop Dreams.
It’s one of those stories about supporting independent film. Roger and Gene reviewed Hoop Dreams when it was just playing at Sundance – which I don’t think they’d ever done before and I don’t think they did it afterwards. We were able to get it in front of them. They were willing to watch this three-hour documentary, and they responded so well to it that they decided to go on their show that week, when the film festival began, and talk about the movie, and encourage distribution to happen. It was an extraordinary thing for them to do, because as they say in the piece, “the only place that you can see this film is at the Sundance Film Festival – this week.” But they made a plea in their review that this film, hopefully, should get distribution.
James will be collaborating with his home base, Kaktemquin Films, a non-profit in Chicago. Steve Zaillian is producing with William Gates and Arthur Agee. Martin Scorsese is executive producing.