By The Associated Press
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The Aretha Franklin concert film “Amazing Grace” will open this year’s Roger Ebert film festival in Champaign-Urbana.
The University of Illinois says the 1972 film directed by Sydney Pollack has been stored in a vault for decades. It’s now been restored and released. It will kick off this year’s Ebertfest followed by a live community choir performance. Franklin died at the age of 76 in August from pancreatic cancer.
In this Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, Aretha Franklin attends the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Gala in New York. A tribute to Franklin is set to air on March 10, 2019, on CBS. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Ebertfest co-founder Chaz Ebert says that instead of opening with the traditional musical, this year the festival will begin with “a glorious, gospel-infused high note.”
The annual festival honors Ebert, the late Chicago Sun-Times film critic and an Illinois graduate. It runs April 10 to 13 at Champaign’s Virginia Theatre. More films and a screening schedule are to be released.